Terri and Bindi Irwin at the AACTA awards at Sydney's Star Casino in January. Photo: Sahlan Hayes
Bindi Irwin is facing a backlash after entering one of the United States' most heated public relations battles.
The 15-year-old, alongside mother Terri and brother Robert, announced during an appearance on the top-rating US morning TV program Good Morning America that she is teaming up with SeaWorld theme parks.
Orlando-based SeaWorld Entertainment Inc has been pounded by bad press, protests and boycotts by performers including Willie Nelson and The Beach Boys in the past year after the release of the award-winning film documentary Blackfish, which probes the treatment of killer whales at the company's theme parks.
"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," said Bindi, speaking of her father, Steve Irwin, who died in 2006 from a stingray barb.
"That's why I'm thrilled to be empowering kids."
Bindi urged viewers to log into seaworldkids.com
"I'm thrilled to be partnered up with SeaWorld," Bindi said. "Thrilled to be part of this new project Generation Nature and just encouraging kids to change the world."
The announcement set off an avalanche of angry Twitter posts.
SeaWorld has launched an aggressive online and media campaign against the Blackfish documentary, including placing full-page ads in America's biggest-selling newspapers titled: "Open Letter from SeaWorld's Animal Advocates.
SeaWorld has also spent $US70 million ($78 million) improving its killer-whale habitats the past three years.
SeaWorld, unrelated to the Sea World theme park on Queensland's Gold Coast, has parks in San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio.