Bindi Irwin On Her Crocodile Hunter Dad

Bindi Irwin has vowed to honour the legacy of her late father, Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, as she reaches her 16th birthday.

Steve died in 2006 when he was attacked by a deadly stingray while snorkelling near the Great Barrier Reef.

At the moment the stingray struck, he was filming shots for Bindi to use in her children's TV programme Bindi the Jungle Girl. She was just eight years old at the time.

In an interview with US magazine People, Bindi, who turns 16 today (July 24) spoke with precocious maturity about the emotional aftermath of her father's premature death.

"I remember after we lost dad, so many adults came up to me and said, 'Honey, time heals all wounds,' " Bindi told the magazine. "That is the biggest lie you will ever hear. It doesn't.

"That kind of sadness never goes away. It's like losing a piece of your heart that you never get back."

Bindi, her mother Terri and 10-year-old brother Robert, continue to live within the grounds of Australia Zoo in Queensland, which Steve and Terri once managed together.

Steve's programme The Crocodile Hunter Diaries was filmed at the zoo, and Bindi was a familiar face to audiences, appearing on the show from the age of two.

Despite her grief, Bindi is determined to follow in her father's footsteps and honour his legacy of wildlife research.

Her Instagram feed is a clear sign of her inherited passion for wildlife, full of snaps of her smiling at the zoo as she handles alligators and snakes with the same fearlessness that won her intrepid dad fans all over the world.

She currently works as a youth ambassador for SeaWorld, as well as joining her mother and brother on an annual crocodile research trip.

Bindi also had harsh words for the cameraman who was filming her father when he died.

Justin Lyons, the lone witness to Irwin's death, was a close friend of the family. But Bindi feels he overstepped the mark earlier this year when he gave a graphic account of the attack during a television interview, sharing intimate details of Steve's final moments.

"For as long as I live, I'll never listen to it. It's wrong as a family for us to hear about it," she told Australian magazine Who.