Bindi Irwin says the COVID-19 pandemic has been “the hardest time” in her life – second only to the death of her dad, Steve Irwin.

Bindi Irwin at an Evening with the Irwins event

Bindi Irwin at an Evening with the Irwins event

The 23-year-old conservationist said keeping Australia Zoo – which she runs with her family – running throughout the pandemic over the past two years has been difficult and has contributed to one of the “hardest” periods of her life so far next to the passing of her dad, who died in 2006.

She told Page Six: “It has probably been the hardest time in our lives other than when dad passed away.

“For us it’s been difficult [because] Australia Zoo has over a thousand animals. We literally can’t ever close. We still had to feed all our animals, do check-ups. It’s as if we were still open, but without any visitors.”

And Bindi proudly praised her mother, Terri Irwin, for being “the champion” of their family amid the pandemic.

She added: “I don’t know what we would have done without her. Her leadership has been phenomenal.”

Meanwhile, 57-year-old Terri recently ruled out finding love again after the death of her husband 15 years ago, who lost his life when he was pierced through the heart by a stingray barb while filming a documentary.

She said: "You know, and I keep saying this, and I think maybe 15 years later people are finally starting to believe me, Steve was it for me.

"That's just the way it is.

"I had a big, big love and it was enough to last a lifetime."

Terri - who had Bindi, as well as Robert, 17, with the late TV legend - insisted she is "too busy" to go looking for a romantic partner, as she opened up about becoming a young widow.

She added: "I think when you become a young widow, it can be uncomfortable for other couples, that whole, 'Oh well, now she's single, is she looking around?' And my male friends are more comfortable, they can see I'm not chasing them.

"I'm too busy to chase anybody."

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