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Whale Wars: Exclusive Interview with Pilot Chris Aultman

 

Chris Aultman is the helicopter pilot and Aviation Director of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. He served for six years in the United States Marine Corps prior to joining the Sea Shepherd team. During that period Chris spent 13 months at sea and became a veteran of the Gulf War.

Aultman’s first experience with the destruction of the world’s oceans was seeing the disastrous effects of the millions of barrels of oil dumped into the Persian Gulf during that war. This and many other experiences caused Chris to start to see the world for what it really was, and nothing was ever the same again.

Many years later, Chris met the founder of Ocean Defenders Alliance, who was tabling for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society at a local scuba show. Already a commercial helicopter pilot and flight instructor, Chris asked if Sea Shepherd ever needed helicopter pilots. This proved to be a very ironic question since it was his involvement with Ocean Defenders Alliance that brought him to meet Captain Paul Watson and become the helicopter pilot for Sea Shepherd.

Chris since has flown during the last three Antarctic Whale Defense campaigns and is ready to return to the worlds oceans for the defense and conservation and marine wildlife.

(Bio provided by Animal Planet)

So, what can we expect to see in the second season of Whale  Wars?

The second season of Whale Wars will show that the battle over illegal Japanese whaling has intensified considerably. Luckily for Sea Shepherd, we were prepared for this challenge. We spent the year updating our ship the Steve Irwin and selected one of the best volunteer crews we have ever had.

Last season’s finale drew over a million viewers. Are you surprised at all by that turnout?

I always thought that the show would be popular due to the fact that most people would be shocked to learn that commercial whaling still existed. However, I was surprised by the final numbers as well as the attention and support that they have brought to Sea Shepherd.

What’s the most positive thing you’ve gotten out of joining the Sea Shepherd crew?

It has been an honor to be part of a team that works to end illegal acts on the world oceans.

You’re pretty much the “eyes” of the Steve Irwin, how is your experience different than those who spend all of their time on the ship.

I have the privilege of seeing things differently than most crew members do, that is true. I have the best view of any office in the world.

I also have a tremendous amount of responsibility in my job and I take it very seriously. Aside for the personal safety of crew I also have to make sure that the information that I obtain for Captain Watson is correct. If I don’t, then we could sail in the wrong direction and loose the fleet or get trapped behind ice.




11 comments
  1. Jason Barrette

    My passion is to be part of the sea shepard on whaling and as a helicopter I am rated in the helicopter that is use and would love to be part of the campaign. Please could someone contact me at (504) 715-8193. If I can be useful with my flight training and ability yo fly helicopters and fix wing air planes. I am here, use me

  2. Ed Davis

    EXCELLENT WORK CHRIS (AND SEA SHEPARD CREW) — THE SHOW IS AWESOME, THE CAUSE IMPORTANT. I will NEVER forget the footage of the two whales (obviously they knew each other, traveling side by side) swimming for their lives before being harpooned in the back – then the bloody dead whale being hoisted up for slaughter – IT WAS MONSTEROUS – and I am truly ashamed of our lack humanity. If I did not feel strongly and passionately about “saving the whales” before, I do now. WHERE CAN I MAKE A CASH DONATION TO THE SEA SHEPARD TO HELP CONTINUE ON WITH THE MISSION? KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK SEA SHEPARDS! – PHOENIX ARIZONA LOVES YOU GUYS!

  3. Meg

    I was wondering Chris, did you ever do anything with Border Patrol or immigration? You seem really familiar to my family.

    Thanks,
    Meg

  4. bob smyth

    I am surprised that a former member of the military became an eco-terrorist. You people make more problems than you stop. I only hope none of the young naiave crew members are mamied or worse by following the cowardly watson’s direction. Greenpeace kicked him out, I hope the Dutch de-register the steve irwin. Please do the right thing let the professionals handle the illeagal activities of the Japanese whalers. You eco-terrorists are a joke and you are going to go to far when one of the crew members ends up in the mourge.

  5. Hart Ryan Noecker

    I was really surprised that Chris and so many other crew members were former military or police. Really breaks the stereotype that people trained to use violence to attain their goals aren’t all ignorant of the plight of our planet.

  6. Keith Wald

    Hi Chris,
    I hope you actually read this.
    I really admire what you are doing, and I mean specifically you as the helicopter pilot. Sailing alone in that environment is hell-a dangerous. Flying alone in that environment is hell-a dangerous. You’re doing both, so do the math: hell-a hell-a dangerous! In fact, your personal risk levels are completely unimaginable.
    For f**k’s sake man, please be careful out there!!
    Keith

  7. Terry

    What you guys do is fantastic. I watch Whale wars on Animal Planet and it has really opened my eyes to the plight of the Whales. You are out there putting your life and freedom at risk to protect those that can not protect themselves from the.
    If left unchecked Humans will destroy this planet for their own greed.It really gives a new meaning to altruism. Keep up the good work.

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