Having spent her teenage years in northern Norway, Lanfear was excited to capture the arctic - a region close to her heart. In her episode, Lanfear wished to explore a number of the bizarre animal behaviors that have arisen within the arctic over the past few years.
One of the changes that interested her was the increasing range of walruses “hauling out” on the rocky cliffs around Russia. Each year, Lanfear describes, thousands of walruses spend their summer feeding on clams revealed by the thaw of warm weather. In the past, once exhausting themselves from hunting, walruses would sit on the nearby sea ice to rest up till they were able to eat once more. Now that the sea ice has melted away because of global climate change, walruses are forced to swim miles out of their way to find land where they will “haul out” and rest. Sadly, the land nearest to their feeding grounds is treacherous, rocky cliffs.
It was when it was time for the animals to come back to the ocean that filming took a traumatic turn. The walruses now had to search out their way back down the steep verges to the water. Very social animals, according to Lanfear, several of the walruses began to move once they detected other animals leaving. Lanfear and her crew watched uncountable walruses die this way, falling from the cliff once a misplaced step and tumbling over the rocks to land on the shore dead.
The producer hopes enduring this shoot, and sharing what's happening to arctic animals in the far corners of the globe, can encourage folks to create changes in their own lives to stop tragedies like this.