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Attenborough Gets His Facts Wrong Again About Walrus

November 4, 2019

By Paul Homewood

 

h/t Robin Guenier

 

Following Episode 1, where he got his facts about albatrosses wrong, David Attenborough has now turned his attention to walruses.

Surprise, surprise, they’re all in danger from global warming:

 image

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000b1tw/seven-worlds-one-planet-series-1-episode-2

At the start of the programme, we see thousands of Pacific walrus hauled out on a spit of land somewhere in Siberia.

Attenborough informs viewers in his best undertaker tones:

For most of the year, they feed out in the Arctic Ocean, emerging to rest on the sea ice.

But now climate change has melted the ice here, and the only place within reach of their feeding grounds where they can rest are a few beaches, such as this one.

100,000 of them, almost the entire world population are here.

 

Once again, he has grossly misled viewers.

The film was shot at Cape Serdtse-Kamen, on the Russian Chukchi coast (No 50 on the map below).

Walruses resting on shore at Cape Serdtse­Kamen' haulout area

Walruses resting on shore at Cape Serdtse­Kamen’ haulout area

 

Large numbers of walrus there are not a new phenomenon, as this iconic photograph in 2009 showed:

 

In October 2009, 90 000 walruses hauled out to relax on the Keniskin Bay beach near Cape Serdtse-Kamen’ in the Chukchi Sea. They closely surrounded my field cabin, and during several days I lived in a “walrus siege”. The roar of the walruses did not allow me to sleep, and I was afraid that my cabin would fall apart, and I would be flattened by their giant bodies.

https://arcticbiodiversity.is/winners

According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, (FWS), haulouts are perfectly normal all along that coast in summer/fall:

image

https://www.fws.gov/alaska/pages/marine-mammals/pacific-walrus

 

 

They go on to explain the migratory behaviour:

During the summer months, as the pack ice continues to recede northward, most of the population migrates into the Chukchi Sea. The largest concentrations are found near the coasts between 700 N latitude and Pt. Barrow in the east, and between the Bering Strait and Wrangel Island in the west. Concentrations, mainly of males, are also found on and near terrestrial haulouts in the Bering Sea in Bristol Bay and the northern Gulf of Anadyr throughout the summer. In October the pack ice begins to develop in the Chukchi Sea, and large herds begin to move southward. Many come ashore on haulouts on the Russian side of the Bering Strait region. Depending on ice conditions, those haulout sites continue to be occupied through November and into December, but with the continuing development of ice, most walruses move south of St. Lawrence Island and the Chukchi Peninsula by early to mid-December.

 

In simple terms, the walrus spend the summer much further north than Cape Sertdtse, around Wrangel Island. They begin to move south in October, as the pack ice begins to grow again, coming ashore to rest and await the ice catching them up, before swimming through the Bering Strait:

Importantly, the walrus are not there because “the ice has all melted”.

In September 2000, the FWS produced this map of the most important haulouts of Chukotka, including Capre Serdtse:

image

So there is nothing new about these haulouts, they are perfectly natural behaviour for walrus, which has been going on for many years. And as Kochnev alsopoints out  below, walrus only arrive at the Cape in numbers in October, when the pack ice has already been reforming. The walrus would be there long before October if lack of sea ice was the driver.

image

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Walrus-population-dynamics-on-the-Cape-Serdtse-Kamen-haulout-2015_fig1_329403952

 

 

Going further back, one of the leading experts of the time, Francis Fay wrote this paper in 1982, and noted that there used to be many coastal haulouts on the Siberian coast in the early 20thC, before hunting took its toll:

image 

image

  https://www.fwspubs.org/doi/abs/10.3996/nafa.74.0001

 

 

Fay also includes this note about aerial census, highlighting the large number of walrus on the coastal hauling grounds of Chukotka:

image

So, large numbers of walrus on these beaches is nothing new.

The fact that Attenborough found so many walrus on this occasion is an indicator of how walrus populations are thriving, rather than anything sinister.

It is a pity he chose to present a fiction, instead of the facts.

 

FOOTNOTE

The next sequence in this episode is about the “walrus falling off a cliff because of climate change.

The GWPF have dealt with this here.

32 Comments
  1. A C Osborn permalink
    November 4, 2019 7:26 pm

    History goes out of the window where Climate Catastrophes are concerned.
    As Tony Heller shows practically every day all the alarmists get caught out by historical evidence.
    Nice One Paul.

  2. alsomaninthemirror permalink
    November 4, 2019 7:27 pm

    The man is a complete menace. He should be challenged to produce the data from which he makes these wild assumptions. In his 90’s he’s must be in the Progressive throes of Brain Rot…. which some Progressives develop at a younger age…..

    • November 5, 2019 10:08 am

      He has lost the plot, or sold out – or both.

  3. alsomaninthemirror permalink
    November 4, 2019 7:32 pm

    …….. David Attenborough ……has the Brain Rot and not as might be construed by the sequence of my reply. Tony Heller whose blog, I agree is an excellent expose of the Alarmist Climate Change Cult, as is this blog and several others…. keep up the good work.

  4. Peter Shellis permalink
    November 4, 2019 7:44 pm

    Unbelievable that Attenborough and his minders made this crass mistake, thinking that they would get away with the spurious climate change ‘explanation’. The paper by Fay (1982) is freely available and gives an excellent account of migration patterns which demonstrates how haulout sites are correlated with advance and retreat of pack ice.

    • ianprsy permalink
      November 5, 2019 9:07 am

      How can it have been a mistake? It’s blatant propaganda.

      • dennisambler permalink
        November 5, 2019 9:15 am

        Absoulutely, and who do politicians believe and who do the media publish, Attenborough or Paul Homewood, Susan Crockford and scores of other sources that demonstrate his lies.

    • Chris Davie permalink
      November 5, 2019 11:32 am

      Unfortunately they will get away with it because mention of the true facts is simply not allowed in our media – the catastrophist line must be maintained!

  5. Jackington permalink
    November 4, 2019 8:50 pm

    Clearly, Attenborough is a duff gen wallah par excellence despite being a national treasure – bless

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      November 4, 2019 11:57 pm

      Then why not keep him in the Tower of London?

  6. grammarschoolman permalink
    November 4, 2019 9:36 pm

    If you’ve got a spare moment, Paul, you could also have a look at ‘The Americas with Simon Reeve’. I watched the first episode last night – about Alaska and Canada – and it was full of highly questionable and emotively expressed statements about glaciers, sea ice and the oil industry. The spoilers for future episodes suggested that he’ll be having a similar go at the California wildfires.

    • November 5, 2019 9:11 am

      Reeves is always doing this and it spoils what are otherwise interesting programmes although recently he has started to bring in the plight of migrants into his programmes as well

      tonyb

  7. November 4, 2019 9:56 pm

    Can’t really blame him, it’s the liars feeding him this info. He’s no more than a talking head.

    • Gamecock permalink
      November 4, 2019 10:36 pm

      He is a script reader. But he’s not innocent; he believes this stuff.

      • RICHARD JARMAN permalink
        November 5, 2019 10:29 am

        If you rely on being commissioned to produce a programme or an article or a book for your income then you will only be successful if you supply what the buyer wants

  8. Chaswarnertoo permalink
    November 4, 2019 11:11 pm

    More Attenbollocks.

  9. November 5, 2019 1:31 am

    A brilliant post thoroughly researched. Thank you.

    Sad to see an esteemed naturalist so intent on selling climate fears that he appears to have lost the script about being a naturalist.

  10. Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
    November 5, 2019 1:58 am

    Walruses know that if too many haul out on floating ice the cracking sounds hurt their tiny ears, and they get dumped into the cold salty water.
    Further, per Hank Johnson, the only land that will not support lots of Walruses is Guam. Thus, they know to stay away from Guam, and congregate on beaches farther north.
    They are smart and learn, unlike your “National Treasure” Mr. Attenborough.

    ~~~Good job on this one. Thanks Paul.

  11. Luc Ozade permalink
    November 5, 2019 5:04 am

    I would like to know, just out of interest, how many complaints the BBC gets from viewers (and ex-viewers such as myself) about their nauseating pushing of fear and scares regarding their misconception of how our climate operates. That they ignore any such complaints is plainly obvious.

    • Malcolm Chapman permalink
      November 5, 2019 4:04 pm

      I would like to know that too. After the Climategate email releases, I went through a number of channels to try to complain to the BBC about its apparent lack of awareness of, or its unwillingness to report on, the issue. It gradually became clear to me that the BBC complaints procedure is designed to make sure that no complaints get through. I told them that I hoped they had someone inside the BBC, making notes on how a great organisation could go so wrong; I am sure they ignored that as well.

  12. Luc Ozade permalink
    November 5, 2019 5:17 am

    And furthermore, they should be de-funded by a strong and truthful government. I know – not much chance of either happening.

  13. Alan Kendall permalink
    November 5, 2019 12:07 pm

    Watch, don’t listen. Programs still have exceptional content.

  14. November 5, 2019 3:44 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.press.

  15. November 5, 2019 11:02 pm

    tip : BBC Local news “Coming up Chris Packham tells young people they must rise up and rebel* for climate” … *Conform they mean

    \\Visiting Lecturer @ChrisGPackham has returned to the University for a #GreatLives Climate Change and Sustainability public lecture //
    \\ Backstage at climate action day University of Lincoln with prof libby John, Chris Packham, Jason Bradbury, prof Elisa frasnelli and prof Chris Thomas Making a difference //

    Packham “I start with an apology for the way my generation has let the future down”
    He went on talking about his XR badge and his support for them
    “break the law ?” “Yes they are breaking the law by just sitting down on the streets”

    His talk was to “Media students of Lincoln University”

    Now CP is popular on Twitter , but rather than masses of cheers, only 3 people tweeted photos of the presentation.

    • November 5, 2019 11:42 pm

      BTW the same BBC guy tweeted this
      “Extraordinary to read Government now portraying 2015 fracking legislation as a tightening of regulation.
      This act was *infamous* in that it gave oil/gas companies the freedom to drill under people’s homes.”

      This bizarre… of course mining and drilling goes on beneath people’s homes
      It’s deep down and all perfectly normal.
      In a country as small as Britain you couldn’t avoid it.
      But it’s so deep it’s not a problem.

    • November 6, 2019 1:02 am

  16. Paul Kelly permalink
    November 6, 2019 9:30 am

    One of the worst flat earth articles I’ve ever read.
    Make a donation? Lol, no thanks

  17. November 9, 2019 5:06 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

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