In an interview with Stellar magazine, Bindi, 20, shared a recent moment where she found herself crying over old footage of her dad — right when she least expected it.
“It was just an ordinary day and we were playing the video where we petition against harvesting of crocodile eggs,” she said. “There’s old footage of dad with the crocodiles and, even though I’ve seen the video maybe 50 times, that day I started crying.”
Bindi added, “Some days you feel the grief more than others. What gets to me are those moments when I’d love him to be here to share what we’re doing.“
Especially with her and her brother Robert Irwin, who was just 2 years old when their father died. (Bindi was just 8 years old.)
“It could be when my brother is receiving an accolade for his photography, or it might be at the end of the day when we’re having dinner and laughing. I’ll think: ‘I wish Dad was here for this.’ But he’s just not there,” she said.
After rising to international fame on his wildlife documentary television series The Crocodile Hunter, Steve was working on an underwater film titled Ocean’s Deadliest when he was attacked by a stingray and died on Sept. 4, 2006, at age 44.
Bindi — who, along with her family, is dedicated to continuing Steve’s environmental mission — also told the magazine, “I care about the planet and my destiny is to make a difference.”
“We’re doing it our own way, but you can feel dad’s spirit in everything we do. I’ve found such comfort in being able to follow in his footsteps,” she shared.
“I’m living the dream!” she said. “How many young people start their day watching a giraffe being born and end the day bottle-feeding a joey kangaroo? I don’t know how I’d cope if I was living in suburbia with a goldfish.”
Opening up to PEOPLE in December, Bindi said that losing her father was like “losing a part of [my] heart.”
“I remember people coming up to me and saying, ‘I’m sorry for your loss, sweetheart. Time heals all wounds,’ ” she recalled. “But that’s just not true. It’s like losing a part of your heart, and when you’ve lost that, you never get it back.”
Bindi, along with younger brother Robert, 15, and mother Terri, 55, are working on expanding the Australia Zoo and are traveling the world to spread the message of their conservation nonprofit Wildlife Warriors. The family also stars in the Animal Planet series Crikey! It’s the Irwins, which follows their life at home at the zoo where they live and work.
“I sure hope dad would be proud,” Bindi told PEOPLE. “We really do try every day to make him proud and follow in his footsteps. I hope that somewhere he’s out there going, ‘Yes! You did good!’ ”