In what's probably no surprise to Animal Planet viewers, "Whale Wars" -- the show that follows the adventures of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society -- has been renewed for a fourth season. 

The series documents the anti-whaling org as it attempts to stop Japanese ships from hunting whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

In an email to the website Ecorazzi, Captain Paul Watson, founder and President of the organization, confirmed the news saying, "Yes, there will be a 4th season of 'Whale Wars'. The next campaign is Operation No Compromise and it begins December 2nd out of Hobart, Tasmania.”

This past season was the highest rated of the series -- with the finale episode the most watched telecast ever for Animal Planet among key demographics. "'Whale Wars' is the epitome of the kind of storytelling we want to do at Animal Planet," noted Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet Media.

Next season's "Whale Wars" may bring with it some added star power in the addition of "Avatar" actress Michelle Rodriguez. The actress announced back in August that she was planning on accompanying the SS on their upcoming Antarctic campaign. 

“I’m going to go on the next voyage,” she said at the Sea No Evil fundraising event for the organization. “So you guys are actually helping to support the next team to go out to Antarctica and bust their ***** on that ship, trying to save some whales. I’m going to be one of those people on board.”

Expect "Whale Wars: Season Four" to hit Animal Planet sometime in early summer 2011. 

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

'Whale Wars' coming back for season four
Animal Planet's most highly rated series renewed for Summer 2011.