Those of us in the Netflix Nature Documentaries Fan Club (that I just made up) were very excited about the release of Our Planet, a docuseries from the same team behind Planet Earth. There are a lot of breathtakingly gorgeous scenes in the series, but one particular scene is seriously heartbreaking.
The scene shows a group of walruses at the top of a steep cliff. They’re over 250 feet in the air, which is a strange place for a walrus to find itself. Why are they up there? They climbed the cliff to escape from the overcrowded beach full of walruses below.
When the area below clears out, the walruses atop the cliff try to return to the water and the rest of their herd, but they don’t understand that moving off of the cliff will result in a fatal fall.
Hundreds of them fall to their deaths, and the Netflix crew captures it all.
Cue every nature lover crying into their couch pillows.
Some scientists attribute the horrifying scene to climate change. Walruses regularly gather into “haul-outs,” which involve thousands of walruses resting and huddling close together on sea ice. But as the earth warms and sea ice shrinks, more and more walruses are forced to crowd together in increasingly risky areas, such as the tiny beach front in the video.
And as more sea ice disappears (nice flat ice that you can’t fall to your death off of), incidents like the Netflix scene are becoming common.
Anyone else feeling extremely sad and helpless?
Here are a few ways to help the walruses and other wildlife that depend on sea ice.