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Natural World: Walrus – Two Tonne Tusker

Fri Oct 18, 9-10pm, BBC2

Can there be any better walrus narrator than Geoffrey Palmer, talking over a close-up of jowly, whiskered Pacific walrus, Sivuqaq? Palmer’s naturally warm tones, though, are suffused with anxiety about the animal’s difficulty in reproducing; in zoos around the world even pandas have been bred more successfully than walruses, and Sivuqaq and his two female companions – Arctic orphans in a Californian marine park – are no exceptions.

So reproduction scientist Holley Muraco heads off to the Bering Sea and the island of St Lawrence to learn from Arctic walruses in the wild, which is fortunately a good learning ground for us too. We watch the animals forage and feed in a symbiotic relationship with marine life, change colour as they emerge from the sea and fatten up for the rutting season, when they become increasingly vocal, making a wide range of sounds that have featured – courtesy of Sivuqaq – in a number of Hollywood blockbusters.

You do have to wonder whether taking walruses from an Arctic background to live in California might be hampering Holley’s hoped-for plans for walrus parenthood, but with cute, fun animations adding a playful tone, her attempts are admirable and make for a gently enjoyable film.


ruth hall

Absolutely brilliant,funny,informative,the trust between walrus and keepers beautifully portrayed for all to see,no gimmicks or trickery just fantastic television for all ages,and above all educational,brilliant photography and very enjoyable,thank you.