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Not-so-adorable polar bears

17 Apr 2019 | Science Notes

As we mentioned briefly last week, a documentary on Netflix claimed some Siberian walruses fell to their deaths off a cliff because they were hunting on land because there wasn’t enough ice to hunt on the sea because (of course) of climate change. But UK journalist Andrew Montford discovered Netflix left out an important detail: the walruses were herded over the cliff by polar bears who then ate the carcases. It has been happening for decades, which is why locals have tried to fence off the area to prevent the walruses from getting near the cliffs. Small wonder the series sponsor, the World Wildlife Fund, wouldn’t want this ugly detail known: It puts their cuddly polar bear climate icon in a rather bad light. And underlines the bears’ impertinent refusal to be wiped out by global warming.

Netflix has been called out for allowing the series host, David Attenborough, to leave out entirely the role of polar bears even though they were just outside the frame of the film footage. But don’t expect an apology or retraction, the network will just double down on its climate blame, despite expert evidence that such events are widespread and that walrus populations are not considered to be at risk from climate change. Though it has even been suggested that they were threatened by film crews and aerial photography that helped panic them near the precipice.

Somehow it’s always the ones who insist on following the science who are the quickest to toss it over the cliff when the science doesn’t fit the narrative.

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