by Michael dEstries
Categories: People.

whale wars, animal planet, season three, whales, sea shepherd

Animal Planet’s Whale Wars series finished its strongest season yet with an exciting two-hour finale last Friday that snagged a number of eyeballs.

During the first hour, which saw Pete Bethune attempt a citizen’s arrest of a Japanese whaling captain, more than 1.5 million people tuned in, giving the network the #4 spot in the highly coveted 18-49 demographic. Things got even better for the second hour focusing on the aftermath of Bethune’s arrest with more than 1.8 million viewers and a tie for #1 in the 18-49 demo.

All of this adds up to the very real conclusion that season four is all but confirmed for next summer.

The Sea Shepherd’s next campaign in the Antarctic to be filmed (most likely) by camera crews kicks off this coming December.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • David

    I know it is kind of nitpicking, but since I know some people who work there I feel I have to stand up for them.

    The camera crews are from RIVR Media, who actually film, edit and produce the show which is then sold to Animal Planet. They also do a number of shows for HGTV, Food Network, TLC and many others.

    • Michael d'Estries

      Not nitpicking at all, thanks for the info. I’ll update.

      • Bud

        Actually, RIVR Media doesnt produce the show. They co-produced the first two years with Lizard Trading Company but now Lizard does it solo.

      • Michael d'Estries

        Thanks, Bud.

      • David

        Thanks for the update Bud. I hadn’t talk to them since being rebased so I didn’t realize the production team had changed.

  • Michael Raymer

    If you ask me, the sleeper hit of the summer was Capt. Chuck Swift. I am completely impressed with this guy and I hope he comes back next season. Realizing that we only get to see what Animal Planet wants us to, I found his handling of every situation to be exemplary. I sense that Paul Watson was disappointed that the Steve Irwin didn’t get to play a bigger role. Well, suck it up Paul. You’ve had 30+ years of this, a slow season isn’t going to kill you. And speaking strictly about vessels, the more I saw of the Bob Barker, the less impressed I was with the Steve Irwin. Hopefully an upgrade is in order.

    I have wondered about the feasibility of SSCS buying an “oiler”, or, a ship designed to carry fuel and oil so other ships can replenish at sea. Such a ship is legally bound to stay out of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary (although David would probably disagree with that), but it would still save weeks of travel time, to and from Australia.

    • Kimitake Hiraoka

      Hi Michael, I didn’t watch the show as I find the glamourisation of terrorism to be distasteful, but I do wonder about this “Chuck Swift” character you mention. It sounds like he’s getting quite some attention there. If Pete Bethune was here, I’m sure he’d warn Mr Swift to watch himself, because if he starts stealing too much of the limelight from the fat man, he might just find himself sent to surrender himself to the Japanese legal system and thrown out of Sea Shepherd.

      As for Sea Shepherd acquiring a refueling vessel, this sounds very worrying. This organisation has a history of trashing its vessels and dumping the wreckage and diesel oil into the pristine waters of the Southern Ocean. So just think of the environmental devastation those vandals could wreak if they got their hands on a tanker full of oil… I shudder at the thought.

      The truth is, the further those yahoo’s are from the Southern Ocean and any kind of machinery, the better for everyone and everything involved.

      • joe

        “This organisation has a history of trashing its vessels and dumping the wreckage and diesel oil into the pristine waters of the Southern Ocean.”

        niether ever happend. they scuttled one ship in the north atlantic so it wouldnt be taken and given to the owners of a pirate whaler there had damadged and sunk. the supposed “oil spill” never happend, you cant see anything in the vid japan realeased. and, anyway, the japanese destroyed the ady gil, so even if there was a spill it was THERE FAULT.

        and the japanese whalers have spilled oil several times while refueling, sometimes in the southern ocean.

      • Christine

        look guy, the “fat man” you are speaking of is a great man. he has been doing this longer them anyone else on the crew. and, they aren’t terrorists. if you actually watched the show, then you would know that he “kicked” pete out of the Sea Shepeards because he thought that if he kept him in the organization then th japanese would give him a longer sentence and think that he would come back and do the same thing. Pete volunteered to do this. He wasn’t made to. You should watch the show. They’re fighting for a good cause.

    • Michael Raymer

      Well Kimitake, maybe you should have tuned in. That way you couls stay away from ridiculous accusations that everyone already knows are false. Watson wanted Bethune to return home and talk to the media. It was Bethune who insisted on boarding the Shonan Maru and he also insisted on going back to Japan to have his day in court. Don’t let the facts get in the way of a made-up story.

      As for Chuck, you may want to check him out. He only made your entire fleet of wannabe poachers back down. It was a joy to see. 5 to 1 odds and the poachers could do nothing but piss themselves and keep their distance.

      And anyway, I thought you weren’t interested in reading anything I say?

    • joe

      i think theyd be far better off just buying another ship to go against the japanese fleet. longer ranged ships are better than an oiler, which would be slow and large, so of limited use else where. this isnt there only campahin after all.


      • Michael Raymer

        And I think you’re right, Joe. There would also be an issue of finding a crew. It was just an idle thought (which seem to have gotten more than it’s share of responses). I do know that oilers can be obtained cheap and regardless of where it can and can’t go, it would save SSCS from having to go all the way back to Australia to re-fuel.

  • David

    “It can take all kinds of weather condition, and has fuel tank capacity of more than 540 m3, enough to sail around the world on one bunker fill. This means it can stay at sea for months. The ship is also excellent to use as bunker barge or small oiler. Ship is presently located in South East Africa as supply/refueling for a Seismic Research Ship. This ship has many advantages, like towing capacity, and an ice rating so it can also be used in Arctic areas. The Ship has large provision capacity. Was previously in the Barentsea for 30 years as a Coastguard ship.”

    Here is a perfect ship. Too bad it was already sold to the SSCS and renamed the Bob Barker. You would think that a SSCS cheerleader would know that the SSCS already has an oiler/resupply ship.

    You would also expect them to know what the sanctuary allows and doesn’t allow. Since the IWC set up the sanctuary (the legality of which is questionable) and the IWC has no authority over anything but whaling. It is interesting that someone would think they can also make rules about oilers. I thought the problem with oilers was because of some other TREATY that is in effect for the ANTARCTIC but the name of that TREATY escapes me.

    Also oilers aren’t banned, there are restrictions on refueling operations. As long as the conditions are met there is no problem refueling further south than 60 degrees of south latitude.

    • joe

      australia set up the santuary. refuling below 60degrees with heavy oil is banned, though i think theres an exception for territorial waters, eg bases and such. and the ship could be used as a small oiler, but really so can anyship that carrys fuel.

    • David

      Australia can’t set up and enforce a sanctuary in international waters. An Australian Federal judge even stated that fact.

      So you know that refueling with heavy oil is banned though you think there are exceptions.

      Here is an idea. Why not read the ATS then you will know. Here is a very interesting part to get you started.

      “Antarctic Treaty

      Article VI

      The provisions of the present treaty shall apply to the area south of 60 degrees South latitude, including all ice shelves, but nothing in the present Treaty shall prejudice or in any way affect the rights, or the exercise of the rights, of any State under international law with regards to the high seas within that area.”

      Well gee, the treaty even says it doesn’t have effect on the high seas, a common term for international waters. Isn’t the high seas where any refueling would be occurring? And if the ATS doesn’t apply on the high seas then how can the ATS ban actions in area where it doesn’t apply?

      Maybe you could do some reading and answer that for me.

  • Cho cho ma

    Whale wars is really helping to increase the donations to Sea Shepherd I read their finacial report from this year and they recieved around $10,000,000 in donations. These funds have allowed them to pay for new campaigns this year like Operation Grind Stop, and Operation Blue Rage.

  • jim raynor

    This season of whale wars did a fair job showing both sides even using clips and Japanese audio and video footage. No matter how anyone thinks Captain Pete Bethune’s ship was destroyed by the Japanese and he served a brave act trying to find justice only to absurdly face 5 months in prison.

  • Tom Collins

    It’s great that Aminal Planet is doing so well in the ratings, but, I hope that the whales will be helped by this as that is the main thing. They need to be protected.

  • Rob Persaud

    Mr.Hiraoka you may want to subscribe to the animal planet and see how these whales are getting slaughtered. It is just sad to see the ignorance of some that supports this monstrosity. Getting to season four, I hope they will get new ships to out maneuver the Japanese whaling fleet. Let us all continue to keep the fight to stop this senseless killings.