Terri Irwin: fair dinkum sheila

The wife of the late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin has denied rumours she plans to sell Queensland's Australia Zoo and relocate to her homeland, the US.

Rumours are rife about the future of Australia Zoo amid media reports Terri Irwin plans to do a deal with US-based investors to turn the wildlife conservation site into some kind of theme park.

"I'll never leave. I love Australia and I'm doing my best to be a fair dinkum Aussie sheila and honour all of Steve's work and yeah, I'll be here the rest of my life," Terri Irwin told Seven Network's Today Tonight.

"There have been so many rumours about so many things and I have no idea where they all come from but I can assure everyone that the conservation work that we're doing in Australia will continue and will certainly have a global impact but we're not leaving and we love Australia and everybody here."

The latest twist in the Irwin drama has seen Steve Irwin's father, Bob Irwin, leave his management position, reportedly because he disagreed with the operation of the business.

Mr Irwin released a statement this month, saying he was cutting ties with the zoo he founded on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, the Sunshine Coast Daily reported.

Terri Irwin said: "There's no rift and I love Bob and saw him [a] couple [of] days ago and he's done a wonderful job of managing one of our conservation properties and after everything he's suffered I think a gentleman of retirement age deserves some privacy and to be able to live his life how he sees fit."

Bob Irwin, who handed control of Australia Zoo to Steve and Terri in the early 1990s, is believed to have moved to a property in southeast Queensland.

Terri Irwin and the world-famous Australia Zoo are being sued by a debt collection company which claims both parties owe more than A$2.5 million over a complex loan deal with an overseas bank.

Despite the legal action, Terri Irwin said there were plans to expand Australia Zoo, but said those plans would maintain a conservation focus.

"We're going to expand into accommodation and definitely make it destination Australia."

- AAP

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