Walruses who fell to their deaths while scraping high cliffs to escape climate change could have died because they were being chased by polar bears, a zoologist has claimed.
Footage from Sir David Attenborough & # 39; s Netflix documentary Our Planet showed walruses that were heading for 250-meter-high cliffs in northeastern Russia.
The animals were said to make the dangerous climb to the higher ground to escape the receding sea ice due to the warming of the sea.
Hundreds of walruses were confused by a combination of shrinking ice cover and their own poor eyesight, raising cliffs and often plunging to death when they tried to return to the sea, the show said.
The disturbing clip showed walruses perched dangerously on the edge of the rock walls, unaware of how high they were.
It is not the first time that a program told by David Attenborough has been confronted with accusations of faking dramatic images of nature.
In 2011, Frozen Planet announced after the show that filmmakers used images of cubs that had been made in a zoo with fake snow in the Netherlands and had split from the wild with polar bear clamps.
As the zoologist said that after their pursuit by polar bears in northeastern Russia, the walrus plummeted to their death
Polar bears are said to have chased the walruses off the cliff, but this claim was disputed by the filmmakers who stood by the images
Sir David Attenborough at the global world premiere of the planet Our at the Natural History Museum last Thursday
When the Blue Planet 2 series of the BBC was developed in 2017, video makers defended the use of studio recordings in laboratories, with images of coral bleaching that could only be filmed with light and specialized cameras.
The Blue Planet team has also simulated a rock pool aboard a ship to film close up zebrabids prawn shrimp and the long teeth of fangtooth fish.
In the recent Our Planet episode of the Frozen Worlds series, Attenborough says that all walruses know they have to join the others to find food.
But a leading zoologist accuses filmmakers of using & # 39; tragedy porn & # 39; and & # 39; emotional manipulation & # 39; to recruit viewers.
Susan Crockford, from the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, claims that the animals probably drove over the cliffs earlier after being chased by polar bears.
She cited a famous incident in 2017 near the shooting of the Netflix series, in which 20 polar bear walruses chased to the top of cliffs at Kozhevnikova cape, Ryrkaypiy, in eastern Russia, according to the Siberian Times.
The film described the film as & # 39; artificial nonsense & # 39; and Dr. Crockford said to the Telegraph: “This powerful story is in the worst case fiction and emotional manipulation.
& # 39; The walruses shown in this Netflix film were almost certainly driven by polar bears during a well-announced incident in 2017, not because they were confused by a combination of shrinking ice cover and their own poor eyesight.
Walruses were featured in the Netflix documentary Our Planet, which dropped 250ft. The show claimed that this was due to receding ice
The walruses could be seen from the high cliffs in the shocking images. The cause of the fall of the animals has been disputed by a zoologist
A shocking part of Netflix & # 39; s Our Planet showed the horrible fate of walruses as they tumbled off the high cliffs
& # 39; Even if the footage shown by Attenborough was not the 2017 Ryrkaypiy incident, we know that walruses at some locations reach the top of cliffs and can fall if they are frightened of polar bears, people or planes above their heads, not because they get confused by the sea shrinking ice.
& # 39; The bears could then feed the many carcasses after the survivors entered the water. & # 39;
Sophie Lanfear, director of the Frozen Worlds series with the Our Planet episode, defended the footage and said two crew members saw the animals fall and claimed that polar bears were not chasing them.
She said: & # 39; We filmed whale species that fell from high cliffs. They were not driven from the cliffs by the polar bears and we know this because we had two team members who saw the cliffs from afar who could see the polar bears and were in radio communication with us to warn us of bears approaching the crew to the walruses and the cliffs.
& # 39; When the walrus had been at the top for a few days, they wanted to return to the sea when everyone else started to go downstairs.
& # 39; We would see them staggering back and forth for hours on end before they finally fell.
& # 39; Basically, the reason why walrus used this pickup location is because of a lack of sea ice in the region, meaning that they come ashore more often than in the past.
Susan Crockford, from the University of Victoria in British Columbia, claims that the wakruses have previously driven over the cliffs after being chased by polar bears
Frozen Planet with David Attenborough alongside a polar bear in 2011. Filmmakers admitted after the show broadcast that some scenes were recorded in a Dutch zoo and included fake snow
Shooting a polar bear town with a mother tending to her cubs was actually shot in a zoo in the Netherlands and not in the wild
& # 39; Especially mothers with their puppies. And at this specific location, when the beach under the cliffs was full, they scattered over the cliffs and couldn't find their way safely, with tragic consequences. & # 39;
During the scene in Our Planet, Sir David said: “The vision of a walrus is poor.
& # 39; But they can feel the others downstairs. If they get hungry, they must return to the sea.
& # 39; In their desperation to do that, hundreds of heights fall that they should never have scaled. & # 39;
Earlier David Attenborough-told shows accused of fake nature images
Preparing for the newcomers: the fake nest is being built in a Dutch zoo, prior to the birth of the polar bear cubs
Dramatic footage of a polar bear that cared for her newborn boy in the BBC show of 2011 Frozen Planet was actually filmed in a Dutch zoo with fake snow.
The little bears were shown as they slapped their mother and tried to beg her for milk.
Eight million viewers were led to believe that the scene was captured by BBC cameramen in an underground cave in the harsh temperatures below zero of the Arctic wilderness.
But the images that were interspersed with real shots of the Arctic were actually filmed in a hole made of plaster and wood in a enclosure for wildlife.
At the time, Sir David defended Frozen Planet's methods and said: & # 39; If you had tried to put a camera in the wild in a polar bear hole, she would have killed the cub or the cameraman. & # 39;
Six years later, Blue Planet II also had to defend the use of studio footage filmed in laboratories.
Unlike in Frozen Planet, the Blue Planet team would not tell viewers which scenes were filmed in a studio.
The Natural History Unit of the BBC was also criticized for filming images in zoos rather than in the natural world.
Walrus are among the top Arctic species that feel the effects of climate change because they rely heavily on sea ice to rest between hunting.
As the ice shrinks, more and more come to the side, according to the WWF.
In addition to unknown and dangerous terrain, they are & # 39; on land very susceptible to disruption by people, planes or predators such as polar bears, which can scare them and cause crushing stamps, & # 39 ;, says WWF.
The disturbing images showed walruses perched dangerously on the edge of the rock walls, unaware of their height. They then fell into the midst of bodies and other living walruses
The pair of two-day-old polar bear cubs shown on the Frozen Planet documentary in 2011. At this age, they weighed less than a kilo, but were filmed in a zoo
Members of the BBC Frozen Planet team with Sir David Attenborough and a polar bear during the 2011 series
These huge marine mammals also give birth to sea ice and turn to the ice rims to mate.
Sea ice also provides crucial protection against storms and predators, according to a NOAA report.
Although the loss of sea ice may not make them extinct, scientists say it will have a devastating effect on their population.
& # 39; It is certain that mainland locations will not support the same number of walruses as the mixed seasonal use of sea ice and land has allowed in the past & # 39 ;, scientists wrote in a 2015 study.
"In addition, documented declines in the northern Bering Sea among the dominant shellfish populations that are critical prey to walruses, accompanied by reductions in sea ice falls, are cause for concern; such ecosystem changes are clearly important to walruses and other animals. & # 39;
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF LOWER SEA ICE LEVELS?
The amount of Arctic sea ice peaks around March as the winter comes to an end.
NASA recently announced that the maximum amount of sea ice was low this year, after three other record-low measurements in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
This can lead to a number of negative effects that have an impact on climate, weather patterns, plant and animal life and indigenous human communities.
The amount of sea ice in the Arctic is decreasing and this has dangerous consequences, says NASA
In addition, the disappearing ice can change shipping routes and affect coastal erosion and ocean circulation.
NASA researcher Claire Parkinson said: & Arctic sea ice cover is still in a downward trend and this is related to the continuing warming of the Arctic.
& # 39; It is a two-way street: global warming means that less ice will be created and more ice will melt, but also because there is less ice, less of the sun's incident sunlight is reflected and this carries To the earth. & # 39;