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Animal Planet casts activist special

'Whale Wars' hooks Capt. Pete Bethune

Animal Planet is prepping a special featuring “eco-pirate” Capt. Pete Bethune, the anti-whaling activist who was just released from custody by Japan.

Bethune made headlines after his vessel, the Ady Gil, collided with the Shonan Maru 2 in January and sank to the bottom of the ocean. In February, he managed to jump onboard the Shonan Maru; Japanese authorities took him into custody and held him on charges of trespassing, obstructing the passage of a vessel, carrying a knife and damaging property.

After being handed a two-year suspended sentence, Bethune was deported to New Zealand and banned from entering Japan for five years.

The one-hour edition of “Whale Wars” will center on Bethune as he talks about being held for a month on the Shonan Maru, followed by three months in Japanese custody. Special will air Sept. 17 at 10 p.m., behind the season finale of “Blood Dolphins.”

Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars” chronicled Bethune as he was taken into custody and will feature the turn of events during the show’s two-hour season three finale on Aug. 27.

“Whale Wars” centers on Capt. Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, of which Bethune is a member. Cameras follow the crew as they attempt to stop Japanese ships from hunting whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

The Lizard Trading Co. produces “Whale Wars” for Animal Planet. Liz Bronstein and Jason Carey exec produce.

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