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NEW YORK, New York -- The Jolly Roger flies high again as Captain Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society return to the high seas in their fight to save whales from Japanese vessels in the icy waters of the Antarctic Ocean. Yesterday, the Sea Shepherds launched their next Whale Defense Campaign, Operation Waltzing Matilda, on board their boat the Steve Irwin from Fremantle, Australia. According to the Sea Shepherds, the campaign, named after Australia’s unofficial national anthem, is intended to last into February and will take place in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Animal Planet and its crew of a dozen producers, cameramen and sound engineers are embedded with them to capture it all for the third season of the hit series, WHALE WARS. The series is produced for Animal Planet by The Lizard Trading Company, and the third season is scheduled to premiere on the network in June.
“The issues surrounding whaling in the southern ocean are important and complex,” says Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet. “The majesty of these beautiful creatures and the lengths to which the Sea Shepherds will go in order to prevent whaling has made WHALE WARS intense and vital television. We are excited to be on the Sea Shepherd boats again this season for what looks likely to be an even more dramatic campaign than in years past. And, as in prior seasons, we wish we could capture the experience on the Japanese boats as well but our request for access continues to be declined.”
According to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, in preparation for the anticipated encounters ahead with the whaling vessels, they will have an enhanced arsenal of tactics and resources. In addition to the main ship, the Steve Irwin, the Sea Shepherds have added the Earthrace boat, which they have rechristened the Ady Gil. The Ady Gil is described as a wave-piercing ship that has broken speedboat records for circumnavigating the globe. It can submarine up to 23-feet underwater and travel over 13,000 nautical miles on one tank of fuel. The Sea Shepherds believe that this new addition to their fleet will enable them to easily keep pace with the Japanese ships and block their harpoon boats from killing whales and processing their meat. The Ady Gil left today from Hobart and will join the Steve Irwin in Antarctica. To counter the possible use of tactics they encountered in the past by the Japanese whalers, such as ear-piercing Long-Range Acoustical Devices (LRADs) and powerful water cannons, the Sea Shepherds say they have some surprise defensive measures to balance the “playing field.”
WHALE WARS follows Captain Watson and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as they wage a life-and-death battle to find and stop Japanese whaling ships from hunting whales in the name of research. For several years, Captain 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 other serious ocean conservation issues. WHALE WARS follows a 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.
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences recognized WHALE WARS this past spring 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 identifies it as “television with a conscience.” Seasons one and two of the series are available on DVD at AnimalPlanetstore.com.
WHALE WARS is a production of The Lizard Trading Company for Animal Planet. Liz Bronstein is the executive producer for The Lizard Trading Company, and Jason Carey is the executive producer for Animal Planet. Charlie Foley is vice president of development 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 96 million homes in the US; online assets www.animalplanet.com, the ultimate online destination for all things animal; the 24/7 broadband channel, Animal Planet Beyond; Petfinder.com, the #1 pet-related Web property globally that facilitates pet adoption; and other media platforms including a robust Video-on-Demand (VOD) service; mobile content; and merchandising extensions.