The daughter of the late Steve Irwin, aka The Crocodile Hunter, announced today that she has big plans for her future.
The 15-year-old is partnering with SeaWorld, the famous — some would say infamous — animal park that has been under fire for alleged animal abuse.
Here’s all you need about the collaboration and the firestorm it created.
1. Bindi Announced Her SeaWorld Partnership on Live TV
— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 6, 2014
The program is about empowering children to change the world. On seaworldkids.com, they outline their mission statement, which is to encourage kids to:
Connect with animals and explore nature to recognize the important role kids play in the future of our world.
We are so thrilled to finally be joining SeaWorld on a brand new initiative called Generation Nature, which is all about encouraging kids to get involved and be game changers for wildlife and wild places.
2. The Internet Unleashed its Fury
Opponents of the collaboration are taking to Twitter to urge Bindi to reconsider her new venture.
They assume she is doing it for the money, and that she failed to consider SeaWorld is cruel to its animals.
They feel that the daughter of the animal-loving Crocodile Hunter is tainting her father’s memory.
Bindi Irwin has become the new Seaworld ambassador. I think I can literally hear Steve spinning in his grave…
— Dan Lodge (@Dan_Lodge) March 6, 2014
— Kimberly Ventre (@KimberlyVentre) March 6, 2014
@bindiirwin Horrified by your decision to join SeaWorld. Pls rethink. There are many other ways to help sealife than joining this evil corp!
— sarah knouse lecroy (@SarahLeCroy) March 6, 2014
3. SeaWorld Has Garnered Intense Hatred Since the Release of ‘Blackfish’
It all started when director Gabriela Cowperthwaite made a documentary called Blackfish, with the trailer shown above. The film exposed SeaWorld for holding whales in captivity, which causes them to turn on their trainers.
She began the project after the death of SeaWorld Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was killed by Tilikum, a 12,000-pound killer whale, in 2010.
Cowperthwaite told ABC that she’s “looking forward to a day when SeaWorld honestly and transparently addresses animal welfare and trainer safety.”
SeaWorld filed a complaint in February that Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigator Lara Padgett was unethical when she provided filmmakers with government documents.
The park had to make a section on its corporate website called “Truth About Blackfish” to respond to the backlash.
The park tells its side of the story by stating:
We object to Blackfish because its two central premises are wrong: (1) that life at SeaWorld is harmful for killer whales and for trainers working with these animals, and (2) that SeaWorld has attempted to cover up the facts surrounding the tragic death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010, as well the history of Tilikum, the killer whale involved in that accident. Nothing could be further from the truth.
4. Her Father Steve Irwin Died While Filming Her Show
The legendary conservationist is known around the world for the television series The Crocodile Hunter.
In 2006, he died when a stingray pierced his heart while filming Bindi’s show, Bindi:The Jungle Girl.
I’m so excited to be carrying on in dad’s footsteps and making sure that everything he worked so hard for continues for the generations to come. That’s why I’m thrilled to be empowering kids. cause as kids we are the next generation- we’re the next voters, we’re the next decision makers.
5. Her Brother Robert Also Continues Steve’s Legacy
The 10-year-old has his own Australia Zoo TV channel program called Robert’s Real Life Adventures.
He was on GMA alongside his mother and sister, saying,
We’ve always grown up around cameras and around animals so we absolutely love it. It’s so good to be able to get our message across.
In 2013, he also released his own book series, Robert Irwin: Dinosaur Hunter.