Bindi Irwin and her family are mourning the loss of a small animal friend.
The zookeeper, 24, paid tribute to the Australia Zoo’s echidna – a relative of the platypus that is also called a spiny anteater – which she and her family looked after for almost 40 years, penning a heartfelt tribute on Instagram in honor of the beloved creature .
“Saying goodbye to our beautiful family member of 38 years,” Bindi captioned a carousel of photos of herself, brother Robert Irwin, and mom Terri Irwin. “The sweetest, kindest, most wonderful echidna you ever did meet. Rest In Peace, angel. 🤍”
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The special relationship Bindi and her family shared with the echidna spanned generations, as seen in one photo Bindi uploaded of herself introducing the animal to her 16-month-old daughter, Grace Warrior.
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Robert also added the post to his Instagram Story, simply adding a broken heart emoji to share the news with his followers.
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The Irwin family’s loss comes shortly after the Crikey! It’s the Irwins star marked her 24th birthday.
Bindi commemorated the occasion by sharing a series of pictures – credited to Robert, a talented photographer who takes many of the family’s photos – on Instagram, reflecting on the ups and downs of the past year.
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“The last year has been filled with enormous growth, unpredictable/challenging times and above all, love beyond my wildest dreams,” Bindi wrote in the caption accompanying the post. “Without them realizing, my sweet family has given me the greatest gifts this year through their extraordinary actions each and every day.”
“My darling daughter, the gift of finding beauty in all things and running towards happiness (and bubbles, which are the same thing to her) with an open heart. I’m grateful for another trip around the sun and another year to do my best making difference in this world.”