Save the dolphins, save the world?
Hayden Panettiere attempted to play real-life hero, teaming with the Save Japan Dolphins coalition in trying to disrupt the annual slaughter of dolphins by Japanese fisherman, who kill an estimated 23,000 of the sea creatures each year.
Despite international outcry, dolphin hunting is still considered culturally acceptable in parts of Japan, where many locals believe the mammals should be treated like fish.
The 18-year-old Heroes star on Tuesday joined activists from the U.S. and Australia in paddling out on surfboards to try and reach a pod of dolphins before it was driven into a nearby cove and massacred.
But before the well-intentioned surfers could reach the cetaceans, they were intercepted by a fishing boat intent on blocking their path.
Video footage of the confrontation shows the angry fisherman using the boat's propellers to halt the surfers' progress and even lashing out at them with a boat hook, eventually forcing them to return to shore.
"It was really frightening," Panettiere said. "Some of us were hit by the boat hook. But in the end, all we really worried about was the dolphins."
Growing emotional, the actress said they were close enough to the dolphins to see them "sky-hopping, jumping out of the water to see us.
"One little baby dolphin stuck his head out and kind of looked at me, and the thought that it's no longer with us is really difficult to take," she said, tears streaking down her face.
After returning to shore, Panettiere and her activist friends headed directly to Osaka and left the country to avoid being arrested for trespass by the Japanese national police.
Panettiere has since returned to Los Angeles.