Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin outside the Africa exhibit when it opened in 2011.
Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin outside the Africa exhibit when it opened in 2011. John McCutcheon

Terri Irwin 'sacks' Australia Zoo general manager

STEVE Irwin's brother in law, who has been the general manager of Australia Zoo for years, has been 'marched off' the property after a reported falling out with Terri.

News Corp reported on Saturday that Zoo general manager Frank Muscillo, who is married to Steve Irwin's sister Joy, who also owned the food court, was sacked.

The Courier-Mail reported the Muscillo family, including Frank's wife of 34 years and their adult children Rebecca and James, have also cut ties with the Sunshine Coast attraction.

It comes after revelations in the Sunshine Coast Daily this week that Bob Irwin has been publicly supporting rival zoos, including Wildlife HQ at the Big Pineapple.

Bob Irwin at Maly the Sun bear's at Wildlife HQ
Bob Irwin at Maly the Sun bear's at Wildlife HQ

Reports of a major rift between Bob Irwin and Terri Irwin emerged back in 2008.

Former staff complained that commercialisation had taken priority over conservation at the international tourist attraction.

Terri and Bindi Irwin have maintained that conservation remains the focus and what has been developed at the Zoo is in line with Steve Irwin's original dream, including the Africa exhibit.

They argue that a healthy turnover is needed to fund their conservation operations.

Staff said back then that Bob Irwin had been banned from the zoo.

A diplomatic Mr Irwin said matter was "complicated".

He said he had written a statement that would be issued through the zoo. He said he would not discuss what was in it until it had been seen by zoo general manager Frank Muscillo.

Know more on this situation? Email editorial@scnews.com.au

Australia Zoo officials would not comment on Mr Muscillo's departure when approached by News Corp.

The zoo has faced years of allegations of poor treatment of its staff and the overuse of volunteers.

State Government agencies are also investigating practices at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, amid claims of animal mistreatment.

The claims, which follow the resignation of key staff, have been denied by the zoo.

Mr Muscillo was also a director of Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors, which oversees the animal hospital.

He was part of the management team from when the zoo was being run by Steve Irwin, though always remained out of the spotlight.



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