Animal Planet’s new series “Whale Wars: Viking Shores” follows Sea Shepherd’s battle to end the hunting and killing of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands
– Triple Threat: Sea Shepherds Patrol the Land, Sea and Air in “Operation Ferocious Islands” to Prevent the Annual Whale Hunt Known as “The Grind” –
In the North Atlantic, between Iceland and Scotland, lays a chain of islands with picturesque beaches and rolling green hills. The Faroe Islands are a self-governing Danish Territory of 50,000 people – descendants of Vikings, bound by proud tradition who have fished these waters for thousands of years. But there is a dark shadow over this beautiful land. Every year, Faroese people gather to herd pilot whales to their shallow shores to be killed for their meat, which is a food source. Whale Wars: Viking Shores, a new five-part series beginning Friday, April 27, at 9 PM (et/pt), follows Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as it sets sail to end this ancient tradition known as “The Grind” – Faroese for “whale drive” – that takes place every summer. Each new one-hour episode airs on Fridays at 9 PM (et/pt).
For the first time in the history of the Whale Wars saga, the Sea Shepherds are not only at sea but also deploying a covert team to patrol the streets, interact with locals and carry out undercover missions. For this campaign, the Sea Shepherd arsenal has been upgraded with a new ultra-lightweight aircraft and mobile acoustical devices to deter the whales from the islands. The flagship Steve Irwin (captained by Paul Watson) and Brigitte Bardot (captained by Fraser Hall) join the land-sea-air operation to provide backup along the coast. A grind can happen at any moment, and the Sea Shepherds are vastly outnumbered and behind enemy lines in a new kind of face-to-face battle.
“Justice takes precedence over the law. No law that [the Faroese] can pass is going to justify what they’re doing to those whales,” says Watson. “We have to constantly remind the Faroese that the outside world is watching them.”
The Faroese have a long-standing history with Paul Watson, who’s been protesting “The Grind” since 1986. The locals know him as “the enemy” and consider his views and actions dangerous. With over 20 killing beaches spread across 18 islands, stopping this hunt isn’t easy as the Sea Shepherds encounter a determined foe that is far from faceless.
“We kill big whales, so Paul Watson is not a problem,” says Marnar Andreasen, the Grind Foreman, who organizes the annual slaughter and is constantly tracking the direct-action conservation group’s every move. “The problem is [the Sea Shepherds] never hear it from our side.”
Whaling in the Faroe Islands has been practiced since the time of the first Norse settlements on the islands. The Faroese have legally hunted and used the non-endangered whales as a food source for over a thousand years. During the grind season, locals use boats to drive as many as a thousand whales towards the island’s rocky shores, where locals wait to kill them with knives, staining the sea red with blood.
Whale Wars: Viking Shores is produced by The Lizard Trading Company for Animal Planet. Liz Bronstein is the executive producer at The Lizard Trading Company, and Lisa Lucas is the executive producer with Animal Planet.
Animal Planet Media (APM), a multi-media business unit of Discovery Communications, is the world's only entertainment brand that immerses viewers in the full range of life in the animal kingdom with rich, deep content via multiple platforms and offers animal lovers and pet owners access to a centralized online, television and mobile community for immersive, engaging, high-quality entertainment, information and enrichment. APM consists of the Animal Planet television network, available in more than 96 million homes in the US; online assets www.animalplanet.com, the ultimate online destination for all things animal; the 24/7 broadband channel, Animal Planet Beyond; Petfinder.com, the #1 pet-related Web property globally that facilitates pet adoption; and other media platforms including a robust Video-on-Demand (VOD) service; mobile content; and merchandising extensions.