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Family gives up Disneyland Vacation to donate $9000 to Wildlife Warriors  

By Toby Walker

A BRISBANE family has donated the money they planned to spend on a trip to Disneyland to help the late Steve Irwin’s Wildlife Warriors fund. Annette Vickery, her husband Shayne and their children Eden, 12, and Rebecca, 8, could have been 12,500 kilometres away visiting Mickey Mouse and friends in California yesterday.

Instead they were a mere 100kms away from their Albany Creek home making their first visit to Australia Zoo.

But it wasn’t just any visit.

They may have been surrounded by crocodiles, snakes and all manner of creatures but the Vickery family was the star attraction thanks to their generous donation to the Wildlife Warriors.

Annette said, like so many others, Steve Irwin’s death had touched them deeply enough to make them think of ways they could help to continue his conservation legacy.
“We had been planning the trip (to Disneyland) for three years but my mum passed away the week after Steve did,” she said.

“After a thing like that happens to your family you don’t really feel like going to America to see a mouse, it just seemed kind of trivial.

“I don’t really think any of us would have enjoyed the trip having lost my mum and we thought the holiday money would be much better spent on the preservation for endangered wildlife and making a difference.”

That difference was the $9000 they spent via an E-bay auction to purchase a one-of-a-kind Giant Big Kid Snappy the Crocodile Bear released by the makers of the popular Beanie Kid dolls.

Annette said Eden was especially touched by the tragic death of Irwin.

“Eden lost her natural dad when she was aged eight so she could understand exactly how Bindi would feel because she was close to her dad too,” she said.

Sadly the family never got a chance to see Steve in action at his famed Crocoseum.

“I guess we had been almost everywhere but (Australia Zoo).

“We had been looking forward to coming during the September school holidays but Steve passed before we had the chance.”

“From the time they were little they grew up watching him and because of him they love animals the way they do and are not scared about touching them.”

Yesterday, Eden and Rebecca were able to play with snakes and touch koalas during a special tour of the zoo.

And when the fun is over for the day and the Vickery family is back home in Albany Creek, Snappy the Crocodile will have pride of place.

“He’ll be in a china cabinet with a photo of the Irwin family along with DVDs and videos the kids watch,” Annette said.

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