GWPF calls for David Attenborough to come clean on ‘walrus tragedy porn’

  • Date: 17/04/19
  • Press Release, Global Warming Policy Forum

Netflix story behind falling walruses is ‘mostly fantasy’

The Global Warming Policy Forum has called for Sir David Attenborough to come clean about the infamous falling walruses in his new Netflix series.

In his narration for the Our Planet show, David Attenborough claims that lack of sea ice is forcing walruses ashore, where they fall from cliffs. 

However, his story is now in tatters. In recent days critics have documented that:

1. Long before global warming could have been a factor, walruses hauled out on shore every year at the same location where falling walruses were filmed by the Netflix team. 1.) 

2. Many or even most of the walruses that fell were reportedly driven over the cliffs by polar bears. There is a contemporaneous news report of hundreds of walruses being driven over the cliffs at the same location a few days before the film crew arrived.

The Netflix film makes no mention of the presence of polar bears, and the producers have denied that they played a part, despite their own “Behind the Scenes” video showing that they were still in close proximity at the time of the filming. 

Dr Benny Peiser, the director of the Global Warming Policy Forum, has called on Sir David to come clean about the footage:

“Did Sir David know about the reported attack by polar bears? Did he know that polar bears were in close proximity during the filming? Did he know that walrus haul-outs have been documented at the same location long before the advent of global warming?

“The story that Netflix are telling the public is mostly fantasy. He should disown the script that was put in front of him”.

Notes for editors

1.) The location has been shown definitively to be Ryrkaypiy, in Russia’s Chukotka region. The USGS survey database says of the site “Arsen’ev (1927) noted Cape Schmidt as a large haulout in the end of 19th century or begin of the 20th century”. (Fischbach AS et al. (2016) Pacific walrus coastal haulout database, 1852-2016). Anatoly Kochnev, the scientist interviewed in the Netflix series believes that there may have been haulouts at the site until the 1960s.

see also

Dr Susan Crockford blog post on the polar bear attack on walruses in the same location at the same time. 

Andrew Montford  blog post demonstrating the geographical location where the Netflix footage came from.

Andrew Montford blog post, showing that the Netflix film crew may have been a contributory factor in the tragedy.

Paul Homewood blog post, pointing out that use of drones may also have been a factor.

Ecologist Jim Steele review of scientific literature on walrus haulouts, confirming that population is the most significant factor.

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