Aletho News


Fallen Icon: Sir David Attenborough and the Walrus Deception

By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | January 19, 2022

In 2019 Netflix in conjunction with WWF broadcast Frozen Worlds, an episode in the Our Planet series and narrated by David Attenborough. The scenes it showed shocked and horrified viewers around the world.

After a brief introduction about the recent loss of Arctic summer sea ice and the ‘inevitable’ devastation this will cause for Arctic animals, it shifts to a series of amazing shots of tens of thousands of walrus, crowded cheek-by-jowl on a beach in Siberia.

The camera pans out to a rocky cliff, which several walrus are attempting to climb. Then suddenly, one after another, the walrus are shown falling off the cliff to their deaths on the rocky shore below.The scenes are shown in slow motion and repeated in order to maximise the shock effect.

As the scenes unfold, Attenborough coolly informs viewers that the walrus would not normally be there, but out on the sea ice instead. But because of man-made global warming, the poor walrus have been forced onto land in crowded conditions, where they will inevitably suffer and die.

But was it all as simple as Attenborough portrayed?

A number of suspicions were immediately evident. Far from these beach haulouts being unusual, walrus in fact regularly use these beaches every year, in order to rest and feed while waiting for the sea ice to move south in autumn.

Walrus also invariably crowd together in these situations, both for warmth and protection from polar bears. Indeed, far from walrus being threatened by climate change, their populations have been growing in recent years, explaining why so many were hauled out that day.

And what made those walrus try to climb the cliff?

Dr Susan Crockford is a professional zoologist, who has specialised in Arctic mammals for many years, particularly polar bears and walrus. She immediately smelled a rat.

Her newly released book, Fallen Icon, tells the story of how she uncovered exactly what went on that day on the Siberian beach. Her detective work reveals how it was polar bears stalking them that forced the walrus up that cliff; how this is a common hunting tactic and how the bears then fed off the carcasses down below.

She uncovers evidence that WWF already knew about this hunting tactic at that particular location, and that was precisely why this beach was chosen for the film.

She goes on to describe how retreating sea ice actually increases the food supply for walrus and how their populations are both healthy and increasing.

And how Attenborough used this horrifying imagery to jump-start a three year campaign against human-caused global warming that included ten documentaries laden with groundless climate emergency messaging, much of it aimed at the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world. Attenborough’s relentless climate activism included a utopian vision of global changes for society eerily similar to the one proposed by the World Economic Forum.

It is hard to disagree with Crockford’s conclusions:

The public’s trust in science and medicine now appears to be at an all-time low. People who had been blind to the abuse of science rampant in the climate change narrative have had their eyes opened by the pandemic response. These things cannot be unseen.

In a worrying trend, traditional scientists struggle to be heard or have their concerns and criticisms published, both for climate change and Covid-19 related issues. Research that features testable hypotheses and reproducible studies seem to be rare birds while predictive modelling projects gobble up grant funds as well as the media attention.

Is science as we used to know it already dead? If so, how much of a role has Attenborough played in this progression? Over the last three years, he has used weaponized science presented to a trusting public in a most egregious manner.

My ultimate goal in writing this book is not to denigrate Sir David but to correct the misinformation he has deliberately or unwittingly promoted in his documentaries and public statements.

I am a traditional scientist standing up for science as it is meant to be – without activism and without politicization – because its loss to society will be incalculable.

Over the years but especially since 2018, Attenborough has shown that he lets others do his serious thinking for him and has often placed his trust where it was ill-advised, as he has done with the WWF. By that I mean he has relied on others to present information to him in an easily digestible manner rather than delving into the literature himself.

And having spent a lifetime taking this easy way out, when he decided he wanted his legacy to be something more substantial than ‘a good storyteller’, he seemed to take on the role of spokesman for others with ideological political agendas.

It appears to me that when he agreed to present the gruesome falling walrus film footage in Our Planet as evidence of climate change, Attenborough compromised his principles to achieve a specific end result. Such noble cause corruption is common in the conservation world but it was new for Attenborough.

I am convinced that what Attenborough has done with the falling walrus episode will be remembered long after he’s dead but not for the reasons he intended. It will go down as another ‘own goal’ for the climate change movement and judged as the moment Attenborough fell from grace as a trusted British icon.

Susan Crockford’s book is now available on Amazon here:

Susan Crockford adds:

As I point out in my new book, Fallen Icon, David Attenborough devised a three year campaign on the falsehood that hundreds of Russian walrus died falling off a cliff due to climate change because he also desired what the World Economic Forum (WEF), meeting online this week, say they want: immediate and drastic changes, supposedly to mitigate an invisible ‘climate emergency’ and other societal ills.

Despite the fact that walrus and polar bears are thriving in the Arctic, this fabricated ’emergency’ seems to be the reason that its new chairman plans to make the G7 into a ‘climate club’.

January 20, 2022 - Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | ,


  1. “My ultimate goal in writing this book is not to denigrate Sir David…” Really? This scientist’s follow-on text belies that ‘high-minded’ declaration. I don’t like hypocrisy in any manner, shape or form…. (She should stick to factual analyses and travel to ‘Sir David’s’ location to confront, discuss, and achieve a modicum of commonality and high purpose. Same with WWF…that’s where I’d like Crockford’s energies to be expended…on behalf of the walruses and truth.)


    Comment by roberthstiver | January 20, 2022 | Reply

  2. There’s an interesting article in this morning’s Guardian about the advance of the downy birch into the tundra of northern Norway, reducing the available winter reindeer grazing and endangering the livelihood of the local reindeer herders. The birch trees are expanding their range northward because conditions are becoming progressively more suitable for them: the region is becoming warmer, with milder winters. Just saying.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by traducteur | January 20, 2022 | Reply

    • Outside of the fact that the Guardian has a zero percent accuracy record on these matters, my initial thought would be that the downy birch has been on a steady march north since the last ice age. A little critical analysis is always in order when polluting your mind with activist propaganda sources.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by aletho | January 20, 2022 | Reply

      • Quite true, the Guardian must be read with caution. I make no assumptions about why the Arctic is becoming warmer, I simply note that it is happening. Northern communities here in Canada have noticed it too.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by traducteur | January 20, 2022 | Reply

      • But…has the “march” been picking up tempo, say, in the last 250 years, due to humankind’s meddling and ‘unhumankind’ (proper/reverent/common-sense stewardship of the planet and all that…) hubris and greed and slash-and-burn rapaciousness across the spectrum of the global ecosphere? Needed: one or more of the ubiquitous charts/graphs showing illustrative, accelerating [or not] spikes and progressions….

        I couldn’t find energy or concentration to go through the lengthy Guardian piece — no graphs, but beyond-awesome photography — with the attention and nature-infused emotion it deserves — but, to me, it’s a superlatively literate and moving (and *on the ground*) narrative. Along the way, I linked and found that author/reporter Ben Rawlence “is a writer and is founder and director of Black Mountains College in Wales.” Think I’d like to assemble with this group and him — and Attenborough, and Crockford, and a WWF rep — for a leisurely lunch and some candid, non-confrontational, adult conversation.

        (Just one point of incidental convergence with BR’s text: I spent a few days in Anchorage, Alaska, back in my day. I believe it was in the April time of year. My takeaway remains that I left my hotel for the airport in a rental car circa 1 AM…the 20 minutes-or-so rural-road drive could easily have been navigated by me without headlights….)


        Comment by roberthstiver | January 20, 2022 | Reply

        • Actually, Robert, slash and burn agriculture has been practised by native Americans (both continents) on a massive scale far longer than 250 years and without sending the planet into a death spiral. It’s quite sustainable.

          The Guardian is indeed a great example of “emotionally moving narrative”, well put. If only it were also scientifically accurate. If only it left its readers more informed rather than disinformed.

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by aletho | January 20, 2022 | Reply

  3. It’s amazing how one’s pre-conceptions and prejudices colour presentations. Attenborough’s films are often amazing, showing the wonder of natural life on this planet, often in such a way that we would never get to see it in normal life. However, his narrative leaves a lot to be desired. In spite of describing the amazing design, complexity and interdependence of wildlife, he is stuck with his simplistic, dare I say idiotic, views that everything occurred through evolution. The fact that there has never been, nor is, a driver, let alone a mechanism for evolution does not seem to faze him. And for everything to somehow evolve into the almost infinite number of life forms that cover this planet, both animal and vegetable, he has no problem accepting. To him, it is ‘science’, despite the fact he cannot prove it.

    The same applies to ‘climate change’. His modus operandi appears to be ‘Don’t confuse me with the facts!’ As the Bible says; he can see, but doesn’t perceive, and hears, but doesn’t understand.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Bill Francis | January 20, 2022 | Reply

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