by Graham Lloyd, April 10, 2019 in ClimateChangeDispatch
Netflix’s acclaimed Our Planet series has come under fire for “tragedy porn” over images of walruses falling to their deaths from cliff tops, allegedly because of climate change.
The Our Planet footage, narrated by David Attenborough, showed dozens of the animals climbing up 80-meter-high outcrops in northeast Russia because of a lack of sea ice.
They were shown plunging onto the rocks below, with hundreds of dead animals piled on the shoreline. A voice-over by Attenborough claimed their poor eyesight made it hard for them to return safely to the ocean.
But a Canadian zoologist has dismissed the claims as “contrived nonsense” and said the walruses were most likely driven over the cliffs by polar bears.
Susan Crockford, of the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, told The Telegraph UK: “This powerful story is fiction and emotional manipulation at its worst.”
The polar bear expert said that at the time the footage was shot in 2017 at Kozhevnikova Cape, Ryrkaypiy, in eastern Russia, the town was being besieged by polar bears.
According to The Siberian Times, 20 bears had surrounded the town, attracted by 5,000 walruses that had appeared at a local protection zone.