Ahoy! Capt. Watson and His Crew Set Sail for a New Season of Whale Wars
Watson and members of his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, who have battled angry whale hunters and dangerous conditions on their mission to rescue whales from illegal whaling fleets, have saved over 1,300 whales to date.
What can viewers expect from the new season of Whale Wars? High-intensity drama as Watson and his crew have a run-in with the Australian federal police and get trapped on an ice field. "[We] bring people down to an area where nobody would ever go to see the truth about what's going on from an educational point of view," says Watson, who founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 1977.
The inspiration for saving whales goes back 30 years for Watson, who witnessed the gruesome killing of a whale by a Soviet harpoon vessel up close. "I looked up into his eye the size of my fist," he tells PEOPLE Pets. "What I saw there had a lasting impact on my life, because I saw understanding. I thought the whale understood what we were trying to do. The whale could have killed me, and chose not to do so, so I feel personally indebted to that whale and have tried to protect as many of his kind ever since."
Right now, Watson says the group's biggest need is resources. "We're doing the best we can with the resources available, with one ship, The Steve Irwin (named after the late wildlife expert and TV star)," he says. "We're trying to get another two ships. If we can get another two vessels, get three vessels down there and cover them 100 percent, we can make sure they don't kill any whales."
And Watson has some heavy-hitting celebrities on his side. His mission has gained the support of advocates including Sean Penn and Martin Sheen, some of whom have joined him on his expeditions. "I always joke, when you've got William Shatner, Christian Bale, Pierce Brosnan and Richard Dean Anderson, you can't fail," he says. "You got McGyver, you got Capt. Kirk, you got Batman and you've got James Bond."
The new season of Whale Wars premieres Friday, June 5 at 9 PM ET/PT on Animal Planet. To help the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, visit their Web site.