Russian Navy Boat Meets Female Walrus, Sinks in the Arctic Ocean

Play with the bull, get the horns. Researchers from the Russian Geographical Society came very close to a female walrus in the Arctic Ocean, which attacked – and sunk – their boat as it was making its way to the shore.
Walrus attacks and sinks Russian Navy boat in the Arctic Ocean 4 photos
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There is catch, of course. The Russian Navy boat attacked by the walrus was an inflatable landing craft that the researchers were using to get to shore from the tugboat Altai. The researchers had been in the Arctic Ocean for over a month, studying the flora and fauna on the archipelago, and were making their way to Cape Heller when the encounter took place.

In a statement to Newsweek, the Geographical Society confirms the incident, which happened last week, saying, “The boat sank, but tragedy was avoided thanks to the clear actions of the squad leader. All the landing participants safely reached the shore.”

In a separate statement, the Northern Fleet, which owns the Altai, acknowledges the encounter with the female walrus but fails to mention the fact that one of their boats sunk as a result of the attack. However, it adds an important detail as to why the walrus attacked in the first place: she thought the humans were endangering her calves.

“During the landing at Cape Heller, a group of researchers had to flee from a female walrus, which, protecting its [calves], attacked an expedition boat. Serious troubles were avoided thanks to the clear and well-coordinated actions of the Northern Fleet servicemen, who were able to take the boat away from the animals without harming them,” the statement obtained by Newsweek reads.

Walruses are impressive mammals. National Geographic says that they can weigh up to 1.5 tons (3,000 pounds), and have large tusks that can grow to about 3 feet, which they use to break breathing holes through the ice from below the surface, among other things. Sinking an inflatable boat, even if it belongs to the Navy and, as such, is sturdier than your average craft, is no feat for them.
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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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