Netflix’s ‘Our Planet’ Documentary Series’ Disturbing Walrus Scene Is Traumatizing Viewers

A female walrus tenderly reassures her young pup as they try to find a place to rest on an overcrowded beach, featured in Netflix' 'Our Planet'.
Jamie McPherson / Netflix

Netflix’s brand new original is Our Planet, a nature documentary narrated by Sir David Attenborough that chronicles the various ways that wildlife is being affected on Earth. The series features the hardships of many different kinds of wildlife, in various places all over the world, and how global warming or the impact of humans is affecting them. Episode 2 features a scene about endangered walruses, which shows many of the sea-bound animals falling off a cliff to a violent end, as covered by The Atlantic. The graphic nature of the scene is traumatizing many viewers on social media, while others rally to help save the animals.

Our Planet is a long-form documentary series that focuses on wildlife and their habitats in various places in the world. The show is narrated by acclaimed nature documentary personality Sir David Attenborough, who is known for narrating some famous and acclaimed documentaries such as Blue Planet, Frozen Planet, Planet Earth, and many others, even beyond nature documentaries, as per his IMDb page.

Our Planet stands out from most other new documentaries with its stunning visuals and innovative storytelling that is able to depict reality in an almost cinematic and beautiful manner. However, one scene in the documentary series is being less than applauded due to its graphic nature.

Sophie Lanfear (producer/director) comes face-to-face with a Pacific walrus. Jamie McPherson / Netflix

The following will discuss some animals in graphic ways and may contain images or short clips of the same. Please be warned not to read any further if you are sensitive to such content.

Episode 2 of Our Planet discusses the current plight of walruses in the Arctic Plains. Due to the lack of sea ice, which reduces the gathering grounds of walruses, they are forced to retreat to other, less desirable areas. One scene sees the walruses gather at a beach that is much too small to contain all of the giant creatures. Some of the animals overflow and begin to climb nearby rocks and small mountainous areas, simply to get away from the overcrowding. However, when it is time to leave, the walruses, whose eyesight out of the water is poor, and not being accustomed to such heights, end up falling to their deaths.

One of the cameramen, Jamie McPherson, who captured the footage, spoke about his shock, as per The Atlantic.

“It’s the worst thing I’ve ever filmed.”

The footage is also disconcerting to many people on social media, as compiled by Radio Times, who have expressed their shock and emotional reactions. The footage may be sensitive for some viewers.

Loading...

Many are also attempting to use this graphic footage, and the emotional turmoil they feel, into something productive by rallying for change and emphasizing the importance of such footage, and applauding Netflix for not shying away from content that invokes these discussions.

Our Planet is currently streaming on Netflix.