Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars” has been renewed for a fifth season after months of back-and-forth over whether the show’s protags, a militant animal-rights group called the Sea Shepherds, would be able to find any whalers to chase away after apparently scaring away Japanese whaling concern the Institute of Cetacean Research at the end of season four.
The Sea Shepherd campaign chronicled in season five will return to the waters around Antarctica, where whaling by the ICR continues. Even in the trailer for the coming season, Animal Planet prexy and g.m. Marjorie Kaplan teases that this may be the last season for the show; the Sea Shepherds have created plenty of international tension with the ICR, which is backed by the Japanese government.
Japanese whalers contend that the ICR’s activities are legal and above-board; the Sea Shepherds say the company’s stated agenda is a smokescreen and that its harpooning and processing of whales violates the moratorium on whaling in international waters.