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Should you’re an individual who watched Walt Disney on TV as a child, you most likely bear in mind one of the epic wildlife movies ever produced by Disney the place a gentle stream of lemmings was leaping over a cliff. This was attributed to lemmings simply being silly or having unhealthy eyesight and has turn out to be a worldwide meme ever since. The phrase “lemmings” has turn out to be synonymous with leaping over a cliff with out considering.

The issue nonetheless with the Disney movie is that it wasn’t true; it was all staged by the producers and the digicam folks. This was discovered years later by an investigation performed by the Canadian Broadcasting Company.

From the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Recreation

The “pack of lemmings” reaches the ultimate precipice. “That is the final likelihood to show again,” Hibbler states. “But over they go, casting themselves out bodily into house.”

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Lemmings are seen flying into the water. The ultimate shot exhibits the ocean awash with dying lemmings.

Actually, some scenes in nature documentaries are staged. In Sir David Attenborough’s current documentary, “The Lifetime of Birds,” the close-up footage of a flying duck, filmed razor-sharp from the fowl’s wingtip, was shot from a automobile utilizing a mallard drake skilled to fly alongside the automobile. However faking a completely legendary occasion is one thing else.

Again to the current day, a tv program by the title of Our Planet is produced by the BBC and stars Sir David Attenborough the identical famous naturalist that staged the flying duck scene. On a current program they confirmed walruses falling over a cliff and performing like lemmings themselves attributed this horrible factor to “local weather change”, which has turn out to be the “common boogeyman” for lemming like skilled journalists.

There’s just one downside, just like the Disney story it wasn’t true, and it wasn’t resulting from local weather change.

From the Bishop Hill web site, written by Andrew Montford:

My article on walruses appeared behind the paywall on the Spectator Espresso Home weblog earlier this week. 

Over the weekend, social media and the newspapers had been stuffed with tales of Pacific walruses plunging over sea cliffs to their deaths. Coronary heart-wrenching movie of the corpses of those magnificent beasts piled up on the shore have been driving many to tears.

This all happened as the results of the newest episode of Our Planet, the brand new wildlife extravaganza from Netflix. As is regular for such programmes, the story that accompanies the animal eye-candy is instructed by Sir David Attenborough and, as is positively obligatory, it’s spiced with a number of references to the horrors of world warming. The truth is, we’re instructed, it’s us who ought to shoulder the blame for the slaughter of the walruses, as a result of shrinking sea ice attributable to local weather change forces them to haulout – leaving the water to take refuge on the shore as a substitute.

The programme ends with Attenborough directing viewers to a web site run by WWF, the co-producers of the collection. It’s subsequently, in essence, an eight-part, multi-million pound fundraiser.

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Which is a pity, as a result of there may be now appreciable proof rising that the story isn’t fairly what it appears.

For a begin, because the zoologist Susan Crockford has documented for the GWPF, walrus haul out behaviour will not be associated to international warming. In her 2014 paper On the Seashore, she cites examples as far again because the 1930s, lengthy earlier than international warming. She additionally explains that there doesn’t seem like a powerful correlation between sea-ice ranges and haulout behaviour.

Neither is the phenomenon of walruses falling to their deaths from sea cliffs new. American TV recorded the identical phenomenon in 1994 and the New York Instances reported 60 deaths in a single incident in 1996. Makes an attempt had been made to set up a fence at one website, whereas one other employs rangers whose sole job is to maintain the walruses away from the cliffs. On the time, scientists defined that the almost definitely clarification  was overcrowding on the water’s edge.

Crockford thinks that the footage on the Netflix present comes from a well-documented incident that happened within the village of Ryrkaypiy, in jap Siberia, in October 2017. September and October are the height interval for walrus haulouts, and there are quite a few examples, which date again to the 1960s, of the cliff phenomenon happening on Wrangel Island, a number of hundred kilometres to the north.

Nonetheless in 2017, because the Siberian Instances reported, the colony attracted polar bears that frequent – and certainly on the time terrorise – the world. The bears drove a number of hundred walruses over the cliffs to their deaths, earlier than feasting on the corpses. They continued to frequent the world proper via into the winter.

I’ve been capable of present that Crockford’s supposition concerning the geographical origin of the footage is appropriate: evaluation of the rock shapes within the movie and in a photograph taken by the producer/director each match archive photographs of Ryrkaypiy. The picture was taken on 19 September 2017, through the occasions described by the Siberian Instances.

However whereas the Siberian Instances and Gizmodo web site, which additionally reported on the 2017 incident, had been each fairly clear that the walruses had been pushed over the cliffs by polar bears, Netflix makes no point out of their presence. Equally, there isn’t any point out of the truth that walrus haulouts are solely regular. As an alternative, Attenborough tells his viewers that local weather change is forcing the walruses on shore, the place their poor eyesight leads them to plunge over the cliffs.

That is all very troubling because it raises the chance that Netflix and the WWF are, innocently or in any other case, social gathering to a deception of the general public. Precisely who was conscious of the presence of polar bears stays unclear, however it appears uncertain that nobody on the WWF and the manufacturing staff was unaware. And provided that one of many prime aims of the present appears to have been to lift funds for WWF, that appears… problematic.

Josh has his tackle it:


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