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Whale Wars

Whale Wars

Photo Credit:  Adam Lau/Sea Shepherd/Animal Planet
  • Premiered: 
    November 7, 2008
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: Animal Planet
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Reality
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Animal
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  • Season 1
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  • Season 2
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  • Season 3
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  • Season 4
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    Season 1
    Season 2
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Plot Synopsis

Paul Watson co-founded Greenpeace in 1971, but he felt that the group didn't do enough to eradicate whaling, poaching, and shark finning; so he founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 1977. Now, the group annually leaves Melbourne, Australia in the winter for a two-month campaign in which Sea Shepherd and the Japanese whalers engage in an environmental showdown in the Antarctic, with each season of WHALE WARS now documenting a different campaign, including: Operation Migaloo (Season 1: 2007 - 2008); Operation Musashi (Season 2: 2008 - 2009); Operation Waltzing Matilda (Season 3: 2009 - 2010); Operation No Compromise (Season 4: 2010 - 2011); and Operation Divine Wind (Season 5: 2011 - 2012). At the end of the fourth season, the Sea Shepherds 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 -- the Sea Shepherds quickly scrambled to mobilize their ships and crew to stop them. In Season 5, the Sea Shepherds face a multitude of tribulations, including a damaged rudder on the Steve Irwin, an inexperienced helicopter pilot bought in to replace veteran Chris Aultman, potential crew tension with the return of Peter Brown, a new captain for the Brigitte Bardot, and the most extreme weather conditions ever seen. On Friday, December 13, 2013 from 9-11pm ET/PT on Animal Planet, WHALE WARS returned with a two-hour episode, the only installment of Season 6, which chronicled the Sea Shepherds' 2012 Zero Tolerance mission. The campaign is in peril even before it gets started, and Watson is forced to step down as the Sea Shepherds' leader just as their fledgling armada leaves for the Southern Ocean.
WHALE WARS returned for a three-episode seventh season on Friday, January 2, 2015 from 8-11pm ET/PT, as Animal Planet premiered all three new episodes back to back, immediately following an all-day marathon (3am-8pm) of encore episodes from previous seasons. In the new season, the Sea Shepherds are headed back to frigid Antarctica for a tenth mission to stop Japanese whaling - but for the first time they'll make the voyage without their leader. Under legal siege, Captain Paul Watson, founder of the direct-action environmental organization Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is forced to hand the mission over to youthful veteran Peter Hammarstedt following a ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The ruling has Watson's hands tied as it imposes strict limits on how he and his U.S. cohorts in Sea Shepherds can interact with Japanese whaling activities. Last season, the Sea Shepherds forged ahead as Watson watched from the sidelines aboard the Steve Irwin vessel. Hammarstedt's determined leadership style made that Antarctic campaign the most treacherous to date, but the Sea Shepherds claimed success by preventing the whalers from reaching even 10% of their whaling quota. Now, in Season 7, WHALE WARS documents "Operation Relentless," the Sea Shepherd organization's latest perilous campaign. With Captain Hammarstedt once again at the helm and tensions with the whalers at an all-time high, this new campaign will likely be the most aggressive and dangerous the Sea Shepherds have faced. WHALE WARS chronicles the latest Sea Shepherds mission of putting a stop to the Japanese whaling season before it even begins. And Hammarstedt's core strategy for this campaign is based on a hunch. At the start of the campaign, the United Nation's International Court of Justice (ICJ), is reviewing a suit bought by the Australian government claiming that Japan has been hunting whales for commercial purposes in Antarctic waters under the guise of science and research. Hammarstedt believes the Japanese plan to avoid the waters considered Australian territory and focus instead on an area called the Ross Sea. If he's right, finding the whalers will prove easier, and the Sea Shepherds can achieve their goal of putting a stop to the whaling season sooner rather than later.


Production & Distribution

  • Produced by RIVR Media (Seasons 1 & 2)
  • Produced by The Lizard Trading Company (Seasons 2 - 5)