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Animal Planet orders 'Whale Wars,' new series to debut in November


By Christopher Rocchio, 07/11/2008 

Animal Planet has announced it has ordered Whale Wars, a new reality series that will follow the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's effort to eradicate illegal whaling operations through the use of radical methods.

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Whale Wars' seven-episode season will document the 2007-2008 Sea Shepherd Conservation Society campaign to rid the high seas of Japanese whaling by utilizing various aggressive techniques including ramming and disabling whaling ships, disrupting whale carcass processing, engaging in physical entanglement, and boarding and dispersing fleets of whale vessels.

"Whale Wars is an epic adventure that looks at the consequences of taking a stand on an issue," said Animal Planet president Marjorie Kaplan.  "It's so important that Whale Wars calls Animal Planet its home.  It's truly compelling television, and it's entertainment with a conservative message infused to its core."

Some of the crew members from the Sea Shepherd's 2007-2008 campaign -- dubbed "Operation Migaloo" -- who will be featured on Whale Wars will include Captain Paul Wilson; 1st Mate Peter Brown; 2nd Mate Peter Hammarstedt; chief cook Benjamin Potts; medical officer Dr. Scott Bell; quartermasters Amber Paarman, Kim McCoy and Shannon Mann; bosuns David Jennings and Daniel Bebawi; communications officer Tod Emko; and deckhands Alex Wallman and Peter Bradley.

Watson founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 1977 because he believed environmental activists had to go even further to eradicate whaling, poaching, shark finning, habitat destruction and purported ocean law violations than the Greenpeace group he had previously co-founded. 

Some of the portions of the Sea Shepherd's most-recent campaign that will be included on Whale Wars will be Potts and fellow crew member Giles Lane being captured by a Japanese ship; Watson allegedly being fired upon by another Japanese whaling ship; and the various methods the campaign used in forcing the Japanese to fall nearly 500 whales short of its quota.

"Whaling has no place in the 21st century," said Watson.  "Sea Shepherd will not stop until the killing ends.

Animal Planet began developing Whale Wars in February as part of a relaunching and rebranding effort built around a new more adult-targeted programming schedule that will include animal-themed reality shows and additional Meerkat Manor-like anthropomorphic series.

Whale Wars is currently slated to debut in November.

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