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'Tragedy Porn': Claims Graphic Scenes In New Netflix Doco Are A Lie

Viewers around the world have been left distraught by a scene in David Attenborough's new Netflix series, Our Planet, which shows walruses plunging from rocky cliff edges.

The harrowing footage was part of the second episode, Frozen Worlds, which focusses on a large group of walruses in northeast Russia.

Thousands of animals are seen hauling themselves up 75-metre cliffs for refuge, with many toppling off the steep rocks and onto the shore below.

The narrator suggests the animals were forced to climb the cliffs "out of desperation" after being stranded by receding sea shelves, and that their poor eyesight left them struggling to safely return to the sea.

But the scene has been labelled "tragedy porn", the plot line "emotional manipulation" by one animal expert who claims the animals were almost certainly driven over the edge by polar bears.

Our Planet producer Julie Lanfear reacting to the awful scenes IMAGE: YouTube

"This powerful story is fiction and emotional manipulation at its worst", Doctor Susan Crockford, a zoologist and academic at the University of Victoria in Canada, wrote in a blog post.

"The walruses shown in this Netflix film were almost certainly driven over the cliff by polar bears during a well-publicised incident in 2017, not because they were confused by a combination of shrinking ice cover and their own poor eyesight."

She highlighted an article written in The Siberian Times at the time of the filming and even posted a video from 1994 which shows US Fish and Wildlife officials trying to explain the phenomenon.

Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore agreed with her comments, claiming the "suicide scene was, in fact, a polar bear attack".

Despite the polar-bear-eye-sight-climate-change debate, it seems viewers were left absolutely traumatised after watching the intense footage.

READ MORE: It's Too Late For The Great Barrier Reef, It Can't Recover

READ MORE: David Attenborough's Warning To World Leaders

Many took to social media admitting they were "destroyed" and "heartbroken".

"The walrus scenes were the hardest thing I’ve ever had to witness or film in my career," said Sophie Lanfear, a producer and director on the series told the New York Post.