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Attenborough’s Walrus Climate Porn

April 8, 2019
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Susan Crockford slams Attenborough’s latest climate porn

A recent Netflix ‘Our Planet’ program with David Attenborough delivering a disturbing message of doom about walruses falling off a cliff to their deaths because of climate change is contrived nonsense on par with the bogus National Geographic starving polar bear video of 2017.  The walruses shown in this Netflix film were almost certainly driven over the cliff by polar bears during a well-publicized incident in 2017, not because they were “confused by a combination of shrinking ice cover and their own poor eyesight“.

Walrus plunging cliff_The Sun headline 5 April 2019

Apologies for neglecting to add, h/t to Charles the Moderator from WUWT!

There are no precise details about the time and place of the incident shown in the ‘Our Planet’ film (see hereor here), except that these were Pacific walrus “in the Russian Arctic” according to The Times (5 April 2019): “David Attenborough’s Our Planet: Walruses plunging to deaths become new symbol of climate change“.

However, even with only that information, a short Google search for walrus falling off cliffs in Russia reveals an incident from 19 October 2017 that was reported by the Siberian Times: “Village besieged by polar bears as hundreds of terrorised walruses fall 38 metres to their deaths“.

Walrus inside_cape_kozhevnikov_Siberian TimesIn 2017, a group of about 20 polar bears, waiting for ice to form so that they could leave the village of Ryrkaypiy, stalked a herd of 5,000 or so walruses (see map below). The particular conformation of the region (see photo above) at Kozhevnikova Cape shows how frightened walrus could easily move from the beach (photo bottom left) to the top of the cliff (photo top right) along a gentle slop, and then be driven over the edge by fear or misstep. The bears were then able to feed off the many carcasses after the survivors took to the water.

Chukotka polar bear problems_7 November 2018

See my blog post from last fall about the situation in Ryrkaypiy, location marked on the map above. Ryrkaypiy has a walrus haulout location nearby and the few dozen polar bears from the Chukchi Sea subpopulation that spend the summer on shore waiting for sea ice to reform during the fall present safety problems for the villagers.

Here’s a quote from one of the stories on the 2017 incident, at Gizmodo (25 October 2017), which blamed the incident on climate change: “Polar Bears Drive Hundreds of Walruses Off Cliff in Siberian Bloodbath

Climate change is having all sorts of bizarre and terrifying consequences in Siberia. Outbreaks of zombie anthrax, massive methane blowouts, that sort of thing. But the latest freak incident—in which hundreds of walruses hauled out on a shoreline, before tumbling off a cliff in terror at the sight of approaching polar bears—reminds us how changes can ripple across the food chain, throwing delicate ecological relationships out of whack.

The incident in question occurred near Ryrkaypiy, a tiny village located on the northern coast of Chukotka bordering the Chukchi Sea. According to a report by the Siberian Times, 5,000 walruses recently hauled out on a shoreline near the village. The walruses were followed by about 20 polar bears, no doubt drawn by the stench of thousands of blubbery, flippered meals.

The arrival of the bears caused the walruses to panic, and many attempted to flee. Per the Siberian Times, “several hundred” fell to their deaths off the cliffs of the nearby Kozhevnikova Cape. The bears, naturally, went to town on the carcasses.

The situation is alarming,” Viktor Nikiforov, Head of Polar Bear Patrol at World Wildlife Fund Russia, told the Siberian Times in the understatement of the century. “Many [walruses] crashed, falling from a height.”

Kristin Laidre, a polar bear expert at the University of Washington, told Earther that while she has not heard about walruses falling off cliffs very often, “certainly polar bears will be attracted to any prey on shore during the ice-free season, even if it’s close to a village with people.”

Mikhail Stishov, Arctic Biodiversity officer for World Wildlife Fund Russia, told Earther that in the last few years “it’s been a pretty typical situation with huge haul outs on the shore line (due to ice cover reducing). Ryrkaypiy is one of the regular haul out sites.”

A handful of other sites along the Russian and Alaskan Chukchi coast have also started playing host to massive groups of walruses, as the nearshore sea ice they use to access shallow water food sources disappears. For the Inupiat village of Point Lay on Alaska’s North Slope, hundreds to thousands of walruses have become a regular late summer spectacle.

As the above shows, WWF was there to witness the event and provide opinion. A MikhailStishov, Arctic Biodiversity officer for World Wildlife Fund Russia and Head of WWF project Polar Bear Patrol, Viktor Nikiforov were there. And who does Attenborough direct distraught viewers to at the end of this particularly disturbing ‘Our Planet’ episode? Why, WWF, who would be only too happy to accept your cash donatations.

According to The Times story on the ‘Our Planet episode:

“The series has a strong conservation message and the plight of the walruses is regarded by the producers as the most powerful story they found during the four years of filming.”

Bottom line: This “powerful story” is fiction and emotional manipulation at its worst. Even if the footage shown by Attenborough was not the 2017 incident in Ryrkaypiy (or a similar one from another year or similar location), we know that walruses reach the top of cliffs in some locations and might fall if startled by polar bears, people or aircraft overhead, not because they are confused by shrinking sea ice cover. Walrus will not replace polar bears as an icon for global warming because neither is being harmed by reduced summer sea ice.

 

 

Attenborough’s tragedy porn of walruses plunging to their deaths because of climate change is contrived nonsense

25 Comments
  1. tomo permalink
    April 8, 2019 12:46 pm

    So where’s the footage of the polar bear aquatic picnic? – did they stop filming or was it edited out ?

    No mention of a hunt ….

  2. April 8, 2019 12:48 pm

    “Walrus will not replace polar bears as an icon for global warming because neither is being harmed by reduced summer sea ice.”

    I would add that a walrus is not as “cute” as a polar bear or baby seal. That matters.

  3. Athelstan. permalink
    April 8, 2019 12:51 pm

    what a laugh, mind you not for the Walruses.

    It is of no surprise, it woudn’t be the first time Attenborough has put his name to blatant propaganda and making ‘natural films’ done by choreograph and very conveniently shot footage, innit – and remember the polar bear scenes: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/8950895/Frozen-Planet-Sir-David-Attenborough-denies-misleading-viewers-over-faked-polar-bear-birth.html

    • Russ Wood permalink
      April 8, 2019 1:53 pm

      Saw the Attenborough documentary “The Life of Plants” with an incredible time lapse tracking shot along a woodland bank through the seasons. After that, watching “the making of” additional footage, showed that that whole ‘woodland bank’ was a 100% fake! The ‘bank’ was built up indoors (to obviate weather problems) with a copied layout of the plants, then irrigated and lit appropriately. Then the camera stepped slowly along to give the ‘tracking’ shot. Very interesting and educational, but just about as far from ‘Nature’ as one can get!

  4. kengreenland permalink
    April 8, 2019 1:07 pm

    It is unfortunate but understandable that as Attenborough prepares to knock on heaven’s door, his mind is sometimes muddled. I find it unfathomable that such an astute and exceedingly knowledgeable man who has spent a lifetime witnessing the natural world and it’s intricacies, can still believe in Darwinism, without a shred of physical evidence. Not speculation or conjecture, indesputable evidence.

    • bobn permalink
      April 9, 2019 1:38 am

      There’s masses of physical evidence for darwinism. Nothing for any other theory, . and as for gods and goblins, zero evidence and zero logic.

  5. Gerry, England permalink
    April 8, 2019 1:56 pm

    All of Attenborough’s best work is decades in the past – he is now a total embarrassment.

    • Alan Kendall permalink
      April 8, 2019 4:47 pm

      With respect, I don’t believe this is true. When he sticks to being a presenter of natural history, without his proselytizing for climate change, he can be as good as he ever was. His love of the natural world, his fascination with it , and his abilities to convey these in a pleasant and engaging style are still there, undiminished. If you don’t believe this, sample BBC’s “David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities”. Last week’s episode upon counting, everything from Clever Hans to hundred year flowering cycles in bamboo, was IMHO a tour-de-force. The previous week’s episode explained and contrasted the extremely tiny infants of Giant Pandas and the relative huge size of Kiwi eggs. Fascinating.

  6. April 8, 2019 2:02 pm

    He is a patron of Population Matters:

    https://populationmatters.org/

    “All our environmental problems become easier to solve with fewer people, and harder – and ultimately impossible – to solve with ever more people.”

  7. April 8, 2019 2:21 pm

    As Polar Bears are becoming a disappointment, this is Walrus deja vu all over again:

    https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/walruses-do-what-walruses-do/

    As Joan Gibson says, not quite so cuddly, but hey, they have a great sense of humour and they sing!

    https://web.archive.org/web/20100417011120/https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/walruses-the-friendly-funloving-musically-talented-creatures-are-under-threat-from-climate-change-925399.html

    Independent 2008
    “The friendly, fun-loving, musically talented creatures are under threat from climate change.”
    “…scientists who work closely with walruses say that they have winning personalities, a great sense of fun and are musical to boot. Now, though, these majestic creatures could be at risk from the effects of climate change.”

  8. mikewaite permalink
    April 8, 2019 2:28 pm

    The Times state (no, thunders) that this, now largely discredited episode, is the “most powerful story in 4 years of filming”.
    If so , then little to worry about, well, for us re: global warming , but the walruses seem to have a problem with too many polar bears on the loose.
    BTW , given WWF’s prominence in the story I suspect many will have seen the note by “pat” in Jonova’s weekend post about the allegations of WWF and its funding (from the public ) and human rights abuses abroad. Even the Guardian seems to have picked this up:
    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/apr/04/british-watchdog-launches-inquiry-into-wwf-abuse-allegations
    http://joannenova.com.au/2019/04/weekend-unthreaded-254/#comments. #34
    Attenborough should be careful about who gets into bed with (metaphorically speaking of course) if he wants to retain his hard earned reputation.

  9. April 8, 2019 3:00 pm

    Is Attenborough going to apologise for peddling this fake news?

  10. April 8, 2019 4:36 pm

    I watched that bit of the film a few days ago, and at the time my first thought was that it might have been the camera work – people – drones, etc., that might have spooked the walruses. One hopes that they are not so desperate to get such footage that they’d spook them on purpose.

    I’d hate to think that, but nothing should surprise us these days, as the left’s desperation is so palatable.

    • tomo permalink
      April 8, 2019 5:15 pm

      Didn’t Disney execute a bunch of lemmings for dramatic effect?

  11. europeanonion permalink
    April 8, 2019 5:01 pm

    Another example of the Hindenburg effect. Haul-out some sort of cherished personage from the rose-tinted past and put them to work as the incontrovertible voice of reason, sad but true. Now that walrus hunting is less of a threat to the species perhaps the occasional death of one of their number is not the tragedy it might have been. When everything was fine, in that past, walruses were in rifle sights of a commercial expedient. Man could have put them into crises and yet, Janus faced as he is, scientific development and changing morals codes, heightened sensitivity, created man-made global understanding and it has worked wonders.

    Certainty is not within the purview of mankind and as for animals their dangers are more prevalent, they are born into jeopardy and fall within a place in the food chain by nature. God, we are told, hears every sparrow fall. This last year has seen some rare big cats shot after escaping captivity. Man’s intervention is not such a blessing. Anthropomorphising is a cruel and selfish invention. Those creatures would have been no worse placed, in fact happier for longer, had they been left to their real fate rather than dealt badly within an alien terrain.

  12. Stonyground permalink
    April 8, 2019 5:55 pm

    Whatever the cause of the walruses going over the cliff might be, blaming it on climate change is absurd. I don’t think that David Attenborough is in any way confused, I think that he wholeheartedly believes in the climate change nonsense and is prepared to lie to promote it. It would appear that he is unaware that doing so will poison his legacy of quality wildlife documentaries. Now anyone watching them will assume that anything that he says is probably a lie.

  13. john cooknell permalink
    April 8, 2019 6:07 pm

    I lost faith when they showed the Bison herd stampeded into the path of wolves.

    The filming helicopter caused the stampede and the wolves knew if they followed the stupid idiots in the helicopter then an easy lunch would follow.

    The predatory animals are intelligent, Attenboroughs crew less so.

  14. BLACK PEARL permalink
    April 8, 2019 6:30 pm

    This is why they want to ‘regulate’ the internet, so fake news propagated by the climate change lobby with approval of the state is the only news they want you get ‘without question’. Keeping you programmed up, to enable all those new climate taxes they’ve applied (before applying the 20% sales tax) rolling in.
    I suppose they realise that many have switched off from BBC propaganda documentaries so are now targeting other platforms with their ‘education’

  15. April 8, 2019 6:45 pm

    Reblogged this on Roald J. Larsen and commented:
    Reblog everywhere to show how dishonest the alarmist camp is. If there was a real issue with the (Man Made) Global Warming nonsense, if it was a real problem, activists wouldn’t need to make up stories and lie .. Would they?

  16. April 8, 2019 7:04 pm

    ” …the most powerful story they found during the four years of filming”

    Also presumably the one with the most warm dead bodies. (I won’t watch it.)

    Everything alive today will one day die, and if there is a camera crew to witness it, it probably won’t be pleasant viewing.

  17. April 9, 2019 2:30 pm

    Paul this is the first time I’ve seen your blogpost syndicated by Google and given an “amp” in the URL
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2019/04/08/attenboroughs-walrus-climate-porn/amp/

  18. April 9, 2019 2:39 pm

  19. April 9, 2019 2:49 pm

    Richard Dawkins liked the progs
    but spotted something
    \\ Richard Dawkins @RichardDawkins
    Obviously inadvertent mistake but a particularly unfortunate one!
    Orang Utans described as human ancestors. //

  20. April 9, 2019 2:57 pm

    Almost 24hrs and still no defence from Netflix
    ..I guess that means WWF don’t have one.
    I also guess that since it is such a fundamental deception the establishment won’t fess up, but rather circle their wagons, and hope time will pass, and the world will move on..to their next bit of dramagreening.

    • April 10, 2019 12:33 am

      9pm a defence is just in TMZ ..hmm that ad filled page looks like a trash publication
      \\ Netflix, however, is standing by the filmmakers’ depiction, telling TMZ that it’s “a documented fact” that walruses are gathering on land because there’s less ice available, “which leaves them in unfamiliar, dangerous territory.”

      In addition, Netflix tells TMZ that the filmmakers “worked with a seasoned Russian biologist who’s worked on that stretch of coastline — and with those walruses — for 35 years,” and that the disturbing scene will remain in the series.//

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