Footage of walruses driven to suicide by climate change broke the world’s heart last year, only for the story to be quietly revised. But if media lied about walrus suicides, what else are they lying about?
Renowned nature documentarian David Attenborough probably converted a few climate skeptics with his heartrending footage of walruses, their habitat decimated by climate change, throwing themselves off cliffs in despair in the 2018 Netflix documentary Our Planet.
Unfortunately, the story was untrue. Walruses regularly take to the water as part of their seasonal migration, and some plummet to their doom in their hurry to escape predators like polar bears, which sometimes hunt their prey by triggering a stampede off a precipice.
Some eagle-eyed viewers noted that the placement of Attenborough’s camera crew might have also left his walruses with no choice but to jump off the cliff, since humans were blocking the beach. With polar bears menacing them inland, the walruses could have been caught between the proverbial rock and hard place.
Other sleuths found the filmmakers had engaged in some editing trickery to make it seem that the ‘desperate’ walruses going ashore to the dangerous cliffs were just around the corner from the packed 100,000-strong colony showcased in the documentary. In fact, the two locations were 400 hundred kilometers apart in Russia’s Far East.