When the Japanese whale meat processing ship - the Nisshin Maru - turned around and set its course back to its home port in mid-February, Captain Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherds declared a cautious victory. Watson and his international conservationist group have been hell bent on stopping the whaling industry for nearly a decade, harassing them and making international headlines in the process. Perhaps the Sea Shepherds' tactics finally had taken their toll... The whalers' actions not only signaled a possible victory for the Sea Shepherds, it also meant hundreds of whales' lives in the Antarctic would be spared this year through an unprecedented cancellation of an entire nation's whale hunt. But was it a final victory or just a temporary conquest?
Animal Planet's Emmy-nominated WHALE WARS returns for a fourth captivating season beginning Friday, June 3 at 9 PM with 10 exhilarating episodes documenting the Sea Shepherds' dramatic campaign on the Antarctic high seas. The series has enthralled audiences who have witnessed the dangerous cat-and-mouse game at the far end of the globe between the Sea Shepherds and the whalers. For years, Captain Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society crew have taken to the high seas in an attempt to stop Japanese ships from hunting whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. WHALE WARS documents the ongoing battles in the icy Antarctic waters as the conflict between Sea Shepherds and the whalers grows more intense with each engagement - each pushing the other to the limit to fight for their beliefs.
This new season is full of the drama that viewers have come to expect from the Sea Shepherds' campaigns, including new equipment in their arsenal -- a new vessel that's almost as fast but far bigger than the boat destroyed last year, a helicopter with a greater range, secret GPS devices, and more. Aside from the Sea Shepherds' new tactics, there are harrowing experiences unlike any viewers will have seen before, including a crew stranded overnight in freezing conditions and a tragic mayday call. Captain Alex Corneliessen joins the campaign to helm the Bob Barker, and Captain Lockhart Maclean takes command of the Sea Shepherds' newest small vessel, the Gojira.
As Watson has said, "In order to save the whales, people have to be willing to risk their lives." And, before this campaign, when a reporter asked pointedly if he really couldn't stop whaling, he vehemently responded, "We can't stop whaling? That's what they once said about slavery, but it was stopped. So yes, we can stop whaling."
The third season of WHALE WARS averaged nearly 1.4 million viewers, 29% above the season two average. In 2009, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences recognized WHALE WARS with a Television Academy Honor identifying it as "Television with a Conscience" for exploring issues of concern to society in a compelling, emotional, and insightful way. The series has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy® for Outstanding Cinematography in a Non-Fiction Series (twice) and Outstanding Picture Editing for a Non-Fiction Series. The first three seasons are available on DVD at AnimalPlanetstore.com.
Liz Bronstein is the executive producer for The Lizard Trading Company, and Jason Carey is the executive producer for Animal Planet. Charlie Foley is the vice president of development for Animal Planet.