Over the weekend, many viewers were horrified by a scene in the Netflix nature documentary Our Planet, which showed several walruses falling to their deaths from the top of a cliff. The documentary, which is narrated by David Attenborough, attributes the cause of the deaths to global warming when Attenborough notes that they've fallen because declining levels of sea-ice (caused by global warming) forced them to the shore, where their poor vision kept them from noticing the danger of being on the cliff.
In the days since Our Planet debuted, this reasoning for the walrus deaths has been called "contrived nonsense" by noted zoologist Dr. Susan Crockford, who specializes in the study of Arctic animals and polar bears, specifically. Her belief is that the footage shown in the documentary is from a noted incident in Russia in October 2017, where polar bears drove dozens of walruses over a cliff, using the dead ones for food. Dr. Crockford has also said that walruses going to shore, and even falling from cliffs, is nothing new and can't be attributed to global warming at all.
Well, it's pretty obvious that those at Netflix have heard the arguments against Our Planet and wanted to show that they stand by the documentary and the message it sends about what global warming is doing to animal populations. The streamer released some behind the scenes footage of the film crew capturing those disturbing deaths, likely in the hopes of stopping the talk that says the documentary didn't get its facts straight. You can take a look at the clip below, but be warned that it does show content that might be hard for some viewers.
In the footage, one of the filmmakers offers up an explanation for the walruses falling by saying that instead of being able to rest on sea-ice between periods of feeding in the water, they now have to swim around 100 miles to rest on the shore and the cliffs, because there's no more sea-ice, meaning that once they find themselves on the cliffs they're so tired they can't maintain a safe distance and end up falling to their deaths. Another of the documentarians then adds that this is a "sad reality of climate change" because they'd simply be on the ice right now if there were any in the area for them to rest on.
It's clear from the video that the filmmakers seem pretty sure that the reason behind what they're seeing is global warming and the lack of sea-ice. But, those who shot Our Planet have confirmed that they filmed this scene in Russia in the fall of 2017 and that polar bears were near by, stopping short, obviously, of confirming that they captured the incident which Susan Crockford mentioned in her article where she decries their reasoning for the deaths.
Ultimately, it might be up to each viewer to look at the facts on each side and decide whether or not they believe these walruses died because of global warming, or a polar bear attack. Either way, though, you can watch the entire eight-part series right now on Netflix.