If you think Animal Planet's "Whale Wars," is intense, just wait until you get a chance to view the dangerous and horrifying world of "Rhino Wars." 

The network recently announced a premiere date for the new three-part series, which pulls the curtain back on the world of animal poaching - and the four former U.S. special forces veterans working to put a stop to it. 

“BATTLEGROUND: RHINO WARS is the next evolution in Animal Planet’s muscular conservation strand,” says Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet. “The men and women protecting rhinos on the ground in South Africa are outgunned and outmanned. This is not an issue of rhinos being dangerous or competing for food or other resources. This is purely greed and profit. There is absolutely no justification for these creatures to be dying, and the people risking their lives to protect them are heroes.”

Rhino horns are sadly highly-valued items - particularly in the Chinese black market, where they serve as a main ingredient in traditional medicines used to treat ever, rheumatism, gout, and other disorders. According to a report in the UK Telegraph, from 2008 until mid 2011, 776 rhinos were killed in South Africa, where poachers are using GPS, helicopters and semi-automatic weapons. 

"Our experiences have made us angry and heartbroken," former Navy Seal and "Rhino" team leader Craig Saw said in a statement. "But most of all, they've left us motivated. Protecting the rhino has gone from a mission to a calling. The most dangerous soldier in any war is one who fights with his heart."

The mini-series looks to be based on the same special forces that inspired “Dark Knight Rises” star Tom Hardy to come up with the idea of an anti-poaching movie. Back in August, it was announced that Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire were on board to help produce.
“Sources told The Hollywood Reporter, the movie will be modeled after Oscar-nominee “Traffic,” as they hope to tell the story through multiple stories. It will follow all sorts of poaching elements such as, the ground war on poachers in Africa and using animals for fashion.”
“Rhino Wars” premieres on Animal Planet on March 7 at 9PM ET.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

'Rhino Wars' coming to Animal Planet
New mini-series will focus on the rhino poaching industry – and the four U.S. special forces veterans fighting to stop it.