Hayden Panettiere Is on a Boat – for Dolphins

Brigitte Lacombe/Cond Nast Traveler)

updated 08/19/2011 AT 2:00 PM ET

originally published 08/19/2011 AT 4:30 PM ET

For Hayden Panettiere, swimming with dolphins and whales isn’t recreation, it’s a personal mission.

At 17, the actress protested the slaughter of dolphins in Japan in the award-winning documentary The Cove. Now 22, she is an international spokesperson for the Whaleman Foundation, an organization that aims to protect cetaceans and their habitats. Condé Nast Traveler acknowledges Panettiere in its latest issue, citing her “will of steel.”