Animal Planet Follows Crusaders of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 'WHALE WARS'
- New Series Pursues a Chess Match at the Far End of the Globe between
Hardline Non-Profit and Japanese Ships in a Battle to Stop Controversial
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., July 10 -- Captain Paul Watson
founded his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 1977 because he believed
his new organization had to go even further to eradicate whaling, poaching,
shark finning, habitat destruction and purported ocean law violations than
the Greenpeace group he had co-founded. For three decades, Watson's group
of staff and volunteers have engaged in a campaign every winter to find and
stop Japanese ships that hunt whales in the name of research, attempting to
stop them by any means necessary. The eclectic group - labeled activists,
heroes and/or eco-pirates - leave port in Melbourne, Australia for a two
month campaign that is dangerous, controversial and has garnered
international media attention. Sea Shepherd's dedicated, international crew
have spent their holiday the last several years and risked their lives at
the bottom of the earth to save whales.
During the 2007-2008 campaign, Animal Planet captured the intensity of
Sea Shepherd's mission and the trials and tribulations of the crew in a new
seven-part, hour-long weekly series WHALE WARS, premiering this November.
The series draws attention to this global conservation issue that has
caused friction between several nations over the practice of whaling in
oceanic territories. This year's campaign was particularly eventful with
multiple engagements, capsizing, possible hostage-taking and alleged
shooting, and Animal Planet crews were onboard to document it as it
Highlighting both the controversial whaling trade and the tactics that
Sea Shepherd and its staff and volunteers use to attempt to cripple it, the
series documents the group's three-month sojourn across the icy Antarctic
waters at the far end of the globe. Each week on WHALE WARS, Animal Planet
will take viewers on a powerful and adrenaline-fueled adventure and
spotlight how the group takes action against alleged illegal whaling
operations. The Society's fight to eradicate Japanese whaling on the high
seas - where international laws are interpreted by different countries and
organizations in different ways - utilizes some aggressive techniques,
including ramming and disabling whaling ships; disrupting whale carcass
processing; engaging in physical entanglement; and boarding and dispersing
fleets of whaling vessels. For the campaign this season, Sea Shepherd
christened its vessel in honor of the iconic conservationist Steve Irwin
with the blessing of his wife Terri, both of whom support the organization
independent of Animal Planet.
"WHALE WARS is an epic adventure that looks at the consequences of
taking a stand on an issue," said Marjorie Kaplan, president and general
manager of Animal Planet. "It's so important that WHALE WARS calls Animal
Planet it's home It's truly compelling television, and it's entertainment
with a conservation message infused to its core."
Sea Shepherd's 2007-2008 campaign - and the story that WHALE WARS tells
- was named Operation Migaloo and was replete with many incidents for the
international-born crew. Two of the most notable incidents included the
capture of two of its crew - Benjamin Potts and Giles Lane - by one of the
Japanese ships, and the gunshot inflicted upon Paul Watson, allegedly fired
from one of the Japanese crew, according to Sea Shepherd. The Japanese fell
nearly 500 whales short of the season's quota, and according to Sea
Shepherd and its standards, the 2007-2008 campaign was very successful.
"Whaling has no place in the 21st century," noted Watson. "Sea Shepherd
will not stop until the killing ends."
Among some of the crew members followed in WHALE WARS are Paul Watson,
captain; Peter Brown, 1st Mate; Peter Hammarstedt, 2nd Mate; Benjamin
Potts, chief cook; Dr. Scott Bell, medical officer; Amber Paarman,
quartermaster; Shannon Mann, quartermaster; David Jennings, bosun; Kim
McCoy, quartermaster; Tod Emko, communications officer; Alex Wallman,
deckhand; Peter Bradley, deckhand; and Daniel Bebawi, bosun.
WHALE WARS is a production of RIVR Media for Animal Planet. Rob
Lundgren, Lori Stryer and Liz Bronstein are the executive producers for
RIVR Media, and Jason Carey is the executive producer at Animal Planet.
Charlie Foley is the development executive for Animal Planet.
Animal Planet Media (APM), a multi-media business unit of Discovery
Communications, is the world's only entertainment brand that immerses
viewers in the full range of life in the animal kingdom with rich, deep
content via multiple platforms and offers animal lovers and pet owners
access to a centralized online, television and mobile community for
immersive, engaging, high-quality entertainment, information and
enrichment. APM consists of the Animal Planet television network, available
in more than 94 million homes in the US; online assets
http://www.animalplanet.com, the ultimate online destination for all things
animal; the 24/7 broadband channel, Animal Planet Beyond; Petfinder.com,
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