Basmah Qazi


Why Netflix is under fire for this tragic walrus scene in David Attenborough’s Our Planet

Why Netflix is under fire for this tragic walrus scene in David Attenborough’s Our Planet

Netflix has come under fire after their controversial decision to air a mass walrus suicide in a David Attenborough documentary.

The new nature series Our Planet left viewers covering their eyes as the disturbing scene played out on their screens.

The scene features a group of walruses falling to their death from a steep cliff in the Bering Strait, resulting in a bloody death on the jagged rocks below.

The film crew became the centre of an outcry after people said that footage of that nature should not have been shown in the episode.

The documentary claimed that the confronting scene was the result of climate change, with Attenborough revealing that melting sea ice was what drove the animals off the cliff.

“Walruses’ eyesight out of the water is poor, but they can sense the others down below; as they get hungry, they need to return to the sea,” he said.

“In their desperation to do so, hundreds fall from heights they should never have scaled.”

But many people accused drones and the crew for the tragic events that unfolded.

Zoologist Susan Crockford put forth the theory that the walruses dying could be due to polar bears, as climate change causing the demise is an unlikely phenomenon.

“The lie being told by Attenborough and the film crew is that 200-300 walruses fell during the time they were filming, while in fact they filmed only a few: polar bears were responsible for the majority of the carcasses shown on the beach below the cliff,” Ms Crockford wrote on her website.

“This is, of course, in addition to the bigger lie that lack of sea ice is to blame for walrus herds being onshore in the first place.”

She slammed film crew for deceptive tactics, saying that they possibly edited out footage of polar bears chasing the walruses off the cliff.

“The film crew have steadfastly refused to reveal precisely where and when they filmed the walrus deaths shown in this film in relation to the walrus deaths initiated by polar bears reported by The Siberian Times in the fall of 2017,” she said.

But the producer of the show, Sophie Lanfear shut down claims on Twitter, saying “bears were not driving them off the cliffs” while filming.

The shows crew has also been accused of scaring the animals with their filming equipment, but Ms Lanfear also refuted that claim.

“When approaching the walruses, we made sure we were downwind of them and that we could not be seen,” she said.

“We only stood up when it was safe to do so and when we weren’t at risk of scaring any walruses