Bindi Irwin pays tribute to late dad Steve Irwin and grandmother

A touching way to celebrate their birthdays.
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Feb. 22 is a special day for Bindi Irwin, even if the two people whose birthdays she would normally celebrate are not around to blow out the candles.

The 19-year-old conservationist shared an emotional post to Instagram on Thursday, commemorating the birthdays of her late father Steve Irwin and grandmother Lyn Irwin.

Steve — who died in September 2006 when a stingray pierced his heart with its barb — was born on his mother’s birthday in 1962 when she was 20 years old. “A birthday present she’ll never forget,” he wrote on his website upon the establishment of The Lyn Irwin Memorial Fund, which was set up after her death in February 2000. “The umbilical cord of our souls was never cut; to this very day I am connected to my Mum.”

Bindi reflected on that idea in her post. “Happy Birthday to my dad and grandmother,” Bindi wrote, captioning a photo of them. “I wish so much that I could give you birthday hugs. You are both in my heart today and I hope you are celebrating together.”

Bindi is following in her father’s footsteps in the Irwin family’s new Animal Planet series, which will follow her, her brother Robert Irwin, 14, and mom Terri Irwin, 53, as they run the Australia Zoo and travel the world protecting and celebrating animals.

Bindi has also hosted the Discovery Kids series Bindi, the Jungle Girl and co-created a series of books called Bindi Wildlife Adventures, while Robert has hosted the wildlife series Wild But True on Discovery Kids and has introduced exotic animals to Jimmy Fallon on the comedian’s late-night show.

terri irwin
(Credit: Twitter/Terri Irwin)

“Dad was amazing because he left this legacy that people will never forget,” Bindi told PEOPLE last year.

“He didn’t just say to love the cute and cuddly animals — he tried to get people to understand and respect the animals like crocodiles and snakes and really break down those barriers,” she added. “For us, we really want to carry on in dad’s footsteps and make sure that everything he worked so hard for continues on in the future.”

This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.

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