Robert Irwin with a lemur.
Robert Irwin with a lemur. Ben Beaden

Robert Irwin to get conservation hero award

THE YOUNGEST son of Australia's most famous conservation champion Steve Irwin is to be about hailed for his own efforts to preserve Australia's wildlife.

Robert Irwin, 13, will receive the prestigious Luke Curnow Conservation Award for his wildlife photography.

The award, presented by the Save the Bilby Fund at Australia Zoo, upholds well known wildlife warriors who spread the world about animal conservation.

Robert is the third recipient of the award with the host of ABC's radio program Australia All Over Ian McNamara and Joanne Johnson from Enviro-Print receiving it previously.

Apart from wildlife, photography is Robert Irwin's great passion.
Apart from wildlife, photography is Robert Irwin's great passion. Russell Shakespeare

Save the Bilby Fund co-founder Frank Manthey said photos would soon be all we have left of our native wildlife, which is why he chose to award the prize to Robert.

"Choosing a winner for this prestigious award has become very difficult," Mr Mathey said.

"It's been Robert's work with his camera capturing our precious wildlife and landscape that really made him stand out.

"It's a way of getting the message out there.

"We've lost 30 species of mammals - extinct in 200 years. We have the world's worst record for extinction."

The award is named after seven-year-old Luke Curnow who adored bilbies, and it was his love of the iconic Australian marsupials which has inspired the award.


BILBY AWARD: Luke Curnow with his father Steve.
BILBY AWARD: Luke Curnow with his father Steve. Contributed

When Luke tragically passed away from a brain tumour in 2009, Mr Manthey decided to start an award in his name.

Robert Irwin said he would be honoured to receive the award.

"I feel so honoured to have been chosen to receive the Luke Curnow Conservation Award and have the Save the Bilby Fund visit Australia Zoo," Robert said.

"We work really hard at Australia Zoo to show everyone how amazing our native Australian wildlife is - Luke definitely knew how great bilbies are and it's his kind of passion that will help us move in the right direction towards saving our iconic Australian species."

Eight-time Olympic medallist and Save the Bilby Fund patron Dawn Fraser will present the award with Frank Manthey at Australia Zoo on September 10 at Australia Zoo's midday Wildlife Warriors show.