Bindi Irwin has cut ties with an Australian group that wants to slash immigration to net zero, following questions about her involvement.
Australia Zoo said on Wednesday that Irwin, 21, is no longer the youth ambassador of Sustainable Population Australia (SPA), a registered Australian charity that calls for a drastic cut to domestic immigration numbers and a reduction in population.
But SPA president and former state politician Sandra Kanck said the first she heard about Irwin's withdrawal was from BuzzFeed News, in a phone call asking for comment on the same day.
Kanck later said SPA had received an email on Tuesday afternoon saying Irwin was unable to continue in the role "effective immediately", hours after BuzzFeed News asked if she was still associated with the group.
Kanck's said her most recent interaction with Irwin prior to her resignation had led her to believe that Irwin was still interested in being involved with SPA.
"Earlier in the year, I asked her team for a new photo and they provided one for us," Kanck said. "So there was no suggestion she was no longer involved."
"The last time I saw Bindi was casually at the Art Gallery of South Australia sometime last year. We said hello, there was no suggestion she wasn't on side. She reiterated that population was the most vital issue."
Australia Zoo did not respond to questions about when Irwin had ceased to be involved with SPA, if she had notified them of her decision, and whether she still agreed with the aims of the organisation.
Prior to inquiries from BuzzFeed News, Australia Zoo's website listed "Named Youth Ambassador For Sustainable Population Australia" under Irwin's achievements. The entry has been subsequently removed.
Irwin's photograph was removed from SPA's website on Wednesday afternoon.
Prior to becoming the SPA's youth ambassador in 2013, Irwin's public comments about population go back to at least 2011 when Irwin, then 12, spoke at the launch of Australian businessman Dick Smith's book Population Crisis.
When she was 15, Irwin called for population control and "seven-year" birth control implants for 11-year-old children in developing countries to prevent pregnancies until adulthood.
In October 2013, she reportedly withdrew a 1,000-word essay about overpopulation from the US Department of State's publication "Go Wild: Coming Together for Conservation."
Irwin's mother, Terri, said that Bindi pulled her article when she saw the edits from the Department, run by Hillary Clinton at the time.
"It's interesting that she was asked to write an essay about the environment and included the consideration of population (growth) and they returned her essay edited and completely edited that out," Terri Irwin told News Corp in 2013.
Irwin does not appear to have spoken publicly on the topic in recent years. In August 2019, she favourited a tweet sent by her mother about overpopulation.
On Tuesday, Nov. 26, the SPA launched a discussion paper on population growth and infrastructure in Australia.
Irwin was listed as a patron at the front of the paper, along with other prominent Australians including former Australian foreign minister Bob Carr and environmentalist professor Tim Flannery.
Carr launched the paper with an address focusing on the environmental impact of overpopulation, saying "There is a carrying capacity of this continent".
The paper's author Leith van Onselen said Australia's population is growing at the fastest rate "in the Anglosphere".
Kanck was disappointed about the news of Irwin's withdrawal, but not crushed.
"Oh well, we'll just have to find another youth ambassador," she said.