SeaWorld ambassador under fire; backlash against orca captivity grows
Published Saturday, March 8, 2014 10:46PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, March 8, 2014 11:29PM EST
The latest SeaWorld ambassador is coming under fire as calls to end the practice of keeping whales in captivity grow.
Bindi Irwin, the daughter of the late 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin, recently announced a new partnership with the park where she will serve as SeaWorld's youth ambassador.
"We are so proud to finally be joining SeaWorld," fifteen-year-old Irwin announced during an appearance on Good Morning America Thursday.
Fans remembers Irwin from the 2010 movie 'Free Willy: Escape from Pirate's Cove', in which her character fights to free a baby orca from an amusement park.
A petition on Change.org that urges Irwin to end her collaboration with SeaWorld has already garnered more than 2,000 signatures.
Irwin's announcement also led to a backlash on social media.
WOW Seaworld is trying to show how awesome they r with Bindi Irwin!!! Sorry but they still have whales in captivity!!! Really disappointed!— Love owls 24 #NFB (@Oldwomanlove24) March 6, 2014
Meanwhile, a California lawmaker has proposed a measure that would prohibit SeaWorld San Diego from using orcas in its shows.
Assemblyman Richard Bloom said on Friday the documentary 'Blackfish', which examines the 2010 death of a SeaWorld trainer who was killed by a captive orca, inspired him to introduce the bill.
"It's time that we embrace that the long accepted practice of keeping orcas captive for human amusement must end," he said during a press conference.
The orca, named Tilikum, also was involved in two other human deaths. The documentary argues that killer whales, when in captivity, become more aggressive to humans and each other.
Since the documentary, several entertainers have pulled out of planned performances at SeaWorld including Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, Barenaked Ladies, Willie Nelson and Heart.
SeaWorld has fought back against the controversial documentary, with a number of current and former trainers voicing their concerns over the project.
With a report from CTV's Los Angeles Bureau Chief Tom Walters