It's been just over a year since Steve Irwin was laid to rest, but the Crocodile Hunter's daring exploits live on TV's and DVD's around the world. Irwin, a conservationist, hunted animals to save them, not to kill them, and cheated death repeatedly in the process. So it was a shock when he died at age 44 from the barb of the normally docile stingray.
Some 300 million people watched the memorial service held at his beloved Australia Zoo. But no one mourned more than his wife Terri and their children Bindi and Robert. A distraught Terri broke her silence in an emotional interview with Barbara Walters just 18 days after the tragedy, vowing to carry on Steve's work.
Terri has been working hard to carry on her husband's legacy. When we caught up with her last week, Terri told us she's picked up right where Steve left off -- taking over the croc show at the Australia Zoo, advancing his plans to expand the zoo from 70 acres to more than 500, raising money for their Wildlife Warriors charity to help endangered wildlife, and overseeing huge nature reserves.
Watch Barbara Walters' interview with Terri Irwin Friday on "20/20" at 10 p.m. EDT
She is also organizing the first Steve Irwin Day on November 15th where people can honor Steve's life by holding a backyard campout, donning some khakis or supporting causes to help wildlife. Terri has also written a book, "Steve & Me," to help come to terms with her loss (click here to read an excerpt of the book).
Terri believes that her husband died for a reason. "I think perhaps it won't be until I've passed on from this life that I will understand," she told Walters. "But if I don't believe that I would feel too hopeless."
Terri says that nine-year-old Bindi has coped with the loss of her father better, having learned about the circle of life at the zoo. For three-year-old Robert, it's been much harder, but their father is still a part of their daily lives. The family watches videos of Steve Irwin in action daily. "Some people put photo albums and things away," Terri said. "For me, personally, I have this sense of carrying on as if he were still here. It's never felt strange." She says "the children don't burst into tears -- it feels kind of comforting to see him and hear his voice."
Terri still keeps Steve's toothbrush in the bathroom and his sarong on the bed. And his trademark khakis still hang in the closet as he had arranged them. "The good ones are on the right for filming," Terri told Walters during a tour. "And then there's the ones he'd wear just day by day."
She says the hardest time is "when I come back in the house and it's so quiet" confessing that Steve was "hot in the cot" whether at home or camping in the outback. Although Steve told her she should remarry if anything happened to him, Terri still can't imagine another man in her life, "not even remotely."
In Steve's Footsteps
Still, Terri is grabbing life by the jaws. Continuing Steve's research, she just led her first croc-hunting trip, returning to the spot in north Queensland where the family last saw Steve alive. She is wrestling and roping crocodiles in order to implant transmitters to study their habits.
As Steve would have done, she allowed a film crew to follow her and the family on this emotional trip for her first solo documentary, "In Steve's Footsteps," which airs on Animal Planet on November 11th at 10pm ET. She doesn't feel she is taking any unnecessary risks. "I think being in a car is far more dangerous. I feel much more in control with a 16 foot croc, 3,000 pounds jaw pressure trying to have a go at me. And I love 'em."
Terri is clearly Steve Irwin's wife, and his children are also following in his footsteps. Bindi recently launched a clothing line, BindiWear, to raise funds to help wildlife. More controversially, she went back to work filming her new TV series, "Bindi the Jungle Girl" soon after her father died. Some have accused Terri of exploiting the children, a charge she vigorously denies. "Through getting professional advice I've learned that Bindi's wanting to get back into filming is part of her normal. Because she's filmed all her life. And she's loving it." Little Robert often appears on the program, and has pledged to become a crocodile hunter like his father.
Terri, an American, says Australia is now her home and she is looking into becoming an Australian citizen. When Barbara Walters last interviewed Terri after Steve's death, she vowed that the family would learn to have fun again. Terri says now she is "getting glimpses of fun" and is "determined that life is going to be good, particularly for my kids." She says "there will never be another Steve Irwin, but I think I can try."