In the Media 2006
Wildlife Warriors – The Veronicas Are saving the animals, with a little help from Steve Irwin
News source: Australian OK! Magazine, July 2006
Interview by Rachel Lees
THEY are two of Australia's best-known exports, so when The Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, and The Veronicas came together for the first time for the charity Wildlife Warriors, OK! Just had to be a part of it!
As a patron of the organisation, Steve (and his Australia Zoo) supports Wildlife Warriors in its fight for the preservation of wildlife and wilderness. And, as the new international ambassadors for the charity, The Veronicas' Jess and Lisa Origliasso have answered the call by supporting the foundation's Australia Wildlife Hospital on Queensland 's Sunshine Coast . Already one of the busiest wildlife hospitals in the world, it's about to become the biggest, too, after it received a grant to build a new and bigger hospital, which is expected to help as many as 10,000 sick and injured native animals every year.
Meeting each other for the first time was an experience Steve and the girls clearly enjoyed, with Steve yelling his trademark call, ‘Crikey! You girls look a lot bigger on the tele!' At 6ft tall, he towered over the tiny twins, but height (and vocal!) differences aside, we chatted to the unlikely threesome about how they came to work together…
Tell us about Wildlife Warriors and what the organisation does…
Jess: They do a bunch of different things, but the main thing we're involved in is the Australian Wildlife Hospital .
Lisa: They take in any native animal, and there are lots of koalas that have been injured in some way – they might have been hit by cars, attacked by dogs or cats, or fallen out of trees. They take them in, operate on them and nurse them back to health, then they'll put them back in the wild. They're helping save entire species. Steve's Zoo, the Australia Zoo, supports them a lot as well, which is really good.
What made you decide to get involved with the group?
Jess: We came over at Christmas with our American band and we went to the Hospital and completely fell in love with what they do. They dno't have enough support, especially from younger people, and we just felt like it was something we wantedto do. We're always asked about Australian animals when we're overseas, so we realise that it's an important part of our culture. When we visited the Zoo, they told us certain species were starting to become extinct, so we just wanted to make more young people aware of what they could do. It would be such a shame if, in 30 years, certain species didn't exist anymore.
Steve: Their mum is also a mad-keen volunteer down at the Hospital – they're a nice, close family unit – so that's kind of how they got involved.
Where did the idea for Wildlife Warriors come from, Steve?
Steve: It came from my family history. My mum was a wildlife-rehabilitating pioneer, if you will. She started way back in the ‘60s, rehabilitating native wildlife. Together, my mum and dad spent their whole lives patching up sick and injured animals. In 1970, when they established Australia Zoo, my house would be chock-a-block with animals like you see at the Wildlife Hospital these days – koalas with broken legs, platypus coming in infested with ticks, you name it. All those animals were rehabilitated in our house! But the flow hasn't stopped, it's got worse.
And you hadn't had the chance to meet your new ambassadors before our shoot today?
Steve: No, but it's an honour to have them involved. They're fair dinkum Aussie girls, having a go, and very good at what they do. They're passionate and enthusiastic and have a really great family. They have everything I think is important. And they've got a definite passion for wildlife, which is a real bonus.
Had you heard their music before?
Steve: Yeah! We got sample copies of their album before it was released – it's not what you know, it's who you know! I love them.
Did you have any expectations of Steve before you met him, ladies?
Jess: No, you never know what someone's going to be like until you meet them.
Lisa: He's just the way you see him on TV. He's the most amazing guy ever, I love him! He's so sweet, so genuine, and you can just tell he's passionate about…
Jess: …what he does – about the animals, the Wildlife Hospital and the Zoo.
Lisa: He's such a family man, too. We met his kids and his wife and they're all really funny, they make everyone feel really comfortable. His little girl Bindi is a little star.
Jess: Yeah, she's gorgeous.
Steve: That's what was so fun about this shoot. I got to take photos with the hottest chicks on the face of the earth – The Veronicas and my daughter! How would you be? I'm up for this photo shoot!
We hear Bindi's about to make her television debut soon, too?
Steve: That's right. She's got a DVD coming out based around kids' fitness. That's been a stack of fun, and I hope to work with her more and more now.
Jess, Lisa, you've got plenty going on besides Wildlife Warriors at the moment, too. Tell us about your tour…
Lisa: We'd done two tours in America before we released the album, butt he most exciting thing for us was coming home in April to do our first national tour in Australia – by that time, the album had sold three times platinum [210,000 albums], and all our shows had sold out within a day. It was amazing! We've just done a small European tour, and by the time this appears in OK! we'll be in the middle of a two-month tour with Ashlee Simpson in the States. We're coming home in August to do a bigger tour and we can't wait!
Aside from performing, what do you love most about touring?
Jess: Hanging out with our band is pretty fun. Meeting different people, travelling, driving from town to town and city to city on our bus.
Lisa: We get to tour the world and have new experiences every day.
Jess: Trying different food is a good thing, and we love the shopping!
Lisa: But, really, we just love the chance to play our music in front of an audience.