Bindi Irwin -- the newly-minted spokesperson/tool for SeaWorld ... will gladly talk about Australian mammals, but dare to even dance around the subject of whales and you'll get shut down.
Bindi and her mom were cruising through Rockefeller Plaza in NYC when our photog asked the 15-year-old about her favorite animal. She was all chatty until our guy switched gears and asked her if she was an animal expert ... and that's all she wrote.
The handler swooped in and shut things down, because it was clearly headed in a "Blackfish" direction.
Shame on SeaWorld ... it's so transparent -- hiding behind a teenager to do their dirty work.