Whale Wars

Animal Planet’s Emmy -nominated WHALE WARS returns for an all-new, fifth season with eight engaging new episodes and a one-hour recap special documenting the Sea Shepherd’s annual whale defence campaign in the Southern Ocean.

Premiering Wednesday, June 6 at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT, Season 5 of Animal Planet’s #1 series finds Canadian Captain Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society more determined than ever as they unleash a powerful arsenal of improved strategy, tactics and introduce new crew members to stave off Japanese whalers in “Operation Divine Wind.”

At the end of the fourth season of WHALE WARS, Sea Shepherd declared a cautious victory against the Japanese whalers, turning them away and saving hundreds of whales. So when the whalers declared their intentions to return to the Southern Ocean – this time escorted by a security vessel – Watson and crew quickly scrambled to mobilize their ships and crew to stop them.

This season, Sea Shepherd faces a multitude of tribulations, including a damaged rudder on Steve Irwin, an inexperienced helicopter pilot brought in to replace veteran Chris Aultman, potential crew tension with the return of Peter Brown, a new captain for Brigitte Bardot, the most extreme weather conditions ever seen in the WHALE WARS saga and more.

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences recognized WHALE WARS in 2009 for exploring issues of concern to our society in a compelling, emotional and insightful way by bestowing the series with a Television Academy Honor which identifying it as “television with a conscience.”

“Must-See” AP presents a summer on the sea, chronicling the tumultuous and turbulent experiences of Captain Paul Watson and his controversial Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for 16 straight weeks.

Starting April 25 on Animal Planet, viewers can immerse themselves in the trials of WHALE WARS with BEFORE WHALE WARS: AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, followed by the new spinoff series WHALE WARS: VIKING SHORES, and then the highly-anticipated return of WHALE WARS for an all-new fifth-season.

WHALE WARS fans will rejoice every Wednesday this summer as Animal Planet presents 16 straight weeks of all-new episodes as the saga continues for Sea Shepherd. Highlights as follows:

 

BEFORE WHALE WARS: AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD (1×120)

Wednesday, April 25 at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT

This acclaimed two-hour documentary serves as prequel to Animal Planet’s #1 series, introducing the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as they attempt to stop a Japanese whaling fleet. Spotlighting the third Antarctic campaign undertaken by Sea Shepherd, the international volunteer crew, though under-trained and poorly equipped develops a combination of bizarre and brilliant tactics with which to stop the whalers. With one ship (The Farley Mowat) too slow to chase down the whaling fleet and the second ship (The Robert Hunter) unsuited for Antarctic ice conditions – and with no country supporting their efforts to enforce international law – the situation becomes increasingly desperate in this real-life David-vs.-Goliath adventure.

 

WHALE WARS: VIKING SHORES (5×60)

Wednesday, May 2 at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT

The Faroe Islands are a self-governing Danish Territory of 50,000 people – descendants of Vikings and bound by proud tradition. They have fished these waters for thousands of years. But there is a dark shadow over this beautiful land. Every year, Faroese people gather to herd pilot whales to their shallow shores to be killed for their meat, which is a food source. WHALE WARS: VIKING SHORES, a new five-part series, documents Operation Ferocious Islands, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s whale defense campaign as they set sail to end this ancient tradition known as “The Grind” – Faroese for “whale drive” – that takes place every summer

 

WHALE WARS: Season 5 (10×60)

Wednesday, June 6 at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT

WHALE WARS, one of Animal Planet’s most talked-about, best-performing and award-winning series, enters its fifth season with Captain Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s eighth whale defense campaign in Antarctica.

What happens at sea, stays at sea – or does it? Find out when WHALE WARS: WAR STORIES debuts on Animal Planet on Wednesday, August 24 at 10 p.m. ET/11 p.m. PT, immediately following the Season 4 finale of WHALE WARS.

On this one-hour reunion special, five Sea Shepherds – along with Captain Paul Watson – sit down with host Lisa Ling (THE VIEW) to talk about what happened when the cameras were and weren’t rolling.

WHALE WARS: WAR STORIES will include the best-of and never-before-seen footage of dramatic conflicts between Watson’s controversial conservationist group and the Japanese whaling industry, and discussion about some of the harrowing decisions the crew made to keep them out of jeopardy.

After an exhilarating, heart-pounding – and potentially final – season of Animal Planet’s most-watched and talked-about series, Watson and Sea Shepherds are enjoying a hard-won, if not cautious, victory.

Hundreds of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary were saved this year by Sea Shepherds through their direct-action efforts… followed by the unprecedented cancellation of the Japanese whale hunt earlier this year.

But will the whalers return next season as suggested in recent news reports? Now, crew members from Sea Shepherd have the chance to share all details of their unforgettable and undoubtedly rewarding campaign with unfiltered commentary, behind-the-scenes knowledge and viewer questions.

Joining Watson are helicopter pilot Chris Aultman, Gojira Captain Locky MacLean, bosun Benjamin “Pottsy” Potts, quartermaster and rescue swimmer Fiona McCuaig, and crane operator Matt Smith as they discuss their three-month adventure defending whales in the treacherous waters of Antarctica.

Capturing viewers and international news headlines around the world, the shocking Season 3 finale of WHALE WARS (airing on Animal Planet Canada on Wednesday, September 22 at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT) follows the gripping last chapter in the much publicized case of anti-whaling activist, Sea Shepherd Pete Bethune’s Japanese imprisonment.

But there’s more to the story. Animal Planet announced today the addition of a new standalone special – WHALE WARS: FROM PIRATE TO PRISONER – which delves deep into Bethune’s capture and four-month detainment.

Premiering Wednesday, September 29 at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT, this exclusive one-hour special follows the Bethune story arc which has gripped Animal Planet audiences this season as his beloved vessel Ady Gil collided with Shonan Maru 2 and sank to the bottom of the South Ocean Whale Sanctuary in February 2010.

After attempting to conduct a citizen’s arrest on the captain of a Japanese whaling vessel, eco-warrior Bethune was taken into custody by Japanese authorities and brought to Tokyo, where he was held on charges of trespassing, obstructing the passage of a vessel, carrying a knife, and damaging property. Only released by his captors in July, viewers are desperate to learn how was he treated during his detention? What went through his mind during that harrowing time?

WHALE WARS: FROM PIRATE TO PRISONER features Bethune as he shares with the Animal Planet audience his experiences – where cameras could not follow – on board the ship that held him for nearly a month and later the three months he was detained in Japan. The outspoken whale warrior shares revelations, opinions and thoughts on the experience after spending four months contemplating his decisions and fate until finally being released on July 9, 2010 and returning home to New Zealand. In addition to Bethune’s interview, the special reveals his background, showcases the most exciting highlights from the season featuring Bethune, Captain Paul Watson and other members of Sea Shepherd, and delves into what’s next for this environmental cowboy.

“Bethune’s unfailing passion has really connected with WHALE WARS viewers this season,” said Stan Lipsey, Director of Programming for Animal Planet. “And though his actions in this campaign lead to his incarceration by the Japanese, the media frenzy that ensued ultimately brought further attention to the whaling activities in the Antarctic.”

WHALE WARS follows a masterful match at the far end of the globe as both Sea Shepherd and the Japanese whalers engage in an environmental showdown with millions of dollars at stake. The team of oceanic crusaders join forces and set out to risk it all to save the whales, even if that might mean not all crew members make it back to port together.

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences recognized WHALE WARS last spring for exploring issues of concern to our society in a compelling, emotional and insightful way by bestowing the series with a Television Academy Honour which identifies it as “television with a conscience.” The series has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy® for Outstanding Cinematography in a Non-Fiction Series and Outstanding Picture Editing for a Non-Fiction Series.

Wednesday, June 9 at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT

The Sea Shepherds return for Season 3 of WHALE WARS with more ships, more crew and more fervour as the Antarctic whaling battle continues to escalate. Highlighting both the controversial whaling trade and the tactics that the Sea Shepherd Society and its staff and volunteers use to attempt to cripple it, this series documents the group’s three-month journey to the South Ocean Whale Sanctuary at the far end of the globe.

Wednesday, July 1 from 7 to 9 p.m. ET/9 to 11 p.m. PT (with new episodes every Wednesday continuing from June 10 premiere)

Research or slaughter? Activism or terrorism? If you missed the start of WHALE WARS Season 2 in June, this is your chance to get caught up with three previously premiered episodes. Find out what the controversy is all about when Captain Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society return in another adrenaline-fueled season of WHALE WARS. Following an 11-week perilous chess match at the far end of the globe, both Sea Shepherd and the whalers engage in an environmental showdown that could cost millions of dollars – all while drawing global attention to the practice of whaling.

Wednesday, June 10 at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT on Animal Planet

Research or slaughter? Activism or terrorism? There are two sides to the debate – and both are willing to die for their cause. Find out what the controversy is all about when Captain Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society return in another adrenaline-fueled season of WHALE WARS, premiering Wednesday, June 10 at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT on Animal Planet. Battling whalers, the elements and one another, the dramatic second season of WHALE WARS – which has already triggered a hotly-debated online discussion – follows the Sea Shepherds as they wage a life-and-death battle to find and stop whaling ships in the South Pacific.

For several years, Watson and his eclectic group of international staff and volunteers – labeled activists, heroes or eco-pirates – have taken a hard-line approach to eradicate whaling, poaching, shark-finning and alleged ocean-law violations. This year’s campaign garnered unprecedented international media attention, raising the stakes for these crusaders and their foes.

“WHALE WARS has sparked a passionate debate among viewers about the human impact on the animal kingdom and what individuals can and cannot do,” said Stan Lipsey, Director of Programming for Animal Planet. “This series has engaged audiences Canada-wide, bringing important environmental issues front and centre while not turning away from controversy.”

WHALE WARS follows a 10-week masterful chess match at the far end of the globe as both Sea Shepherd and the whalers engage in an environmental showdown that could cost millions of dollars – all while drawing global attention to the practice of whaling.

In addition to returning crew members Peter Brown (First Officer), Peter Hammarstedt (Second Officer), Chris Altman (Helicopter Pilot/Aviation Director), Laurens de Groot (Deckhand), Ben Potts (Helicopter Crew) and Canadian Shannon Mann (Quartermaster), the Steve Irwin is joined by Jane Taylor (Quartermaster), Luke Van Horn (Communications Officer), Andy Perry (Leading Deckhand), Molly Kendall (Deckhand) and Laura Dakin (Chief Cook). These featured crew members help comprise the 40-man international crew who spent the winter putting their lives on the line for whales.