“Faced with an imposing wall of blubber and hide, it appears that the world’s largest land carnivore,” the polar bear, “may have met his match,” BBC EARTH captions of their highlight. Enter the walrus.
“Filmed on a remote island in the Arctic, shrouded in fog, we are treated to stunning footage of a polar bear in pursuit of a walrus,” the esteemed network continues. And it is this fog that gives the bear an upper hand. Or so he thinks.
As the most accomplished naturalist of our time (Sir David Attenborough, who else?) narrates, “The walruses sense that they are in danger. Using the fog as cover, the polar bear approaches the herd.”
Immediately, the walruses move into formation. Their immense, blubber-walled bodies form an impenetrable fortress around their young and vulnerable. Each female is prepared to die to protect the community’s pups. The bear tests this, prodding frantic walruses with claws and fangs. But the wall holds firm.
“It appears that the world’s largest land carnivore has met his match,” Attenborough reiterates.
It is an imposing sight. Hundreds of walrus hold firm in the herd. Their massive tusks, which can reach 30 inches in length, shine like daggers amidst an ever-moving mass of giants. These 2,200-pound mammals vastly outweigh they typical polar bear’s 1,000-pounds. But hunger drives a bear to do wild things.
Polar Bear vs Walrus: Who Wins?
Vicious attacks follow. The stark white bear takes every chance he is given to attack pups and yearlings. But he is no fool, and would certainly prefer this not be his last hunt.
“The chance for his first meal in months is slipping away,” Attenborough notes. As the walrus herd makes for the water, “he seems increasingly desperate.”
At the 2:45 mark, we see the polar bear finally engage in a full-out attack on an unlucky walrus. Using the power of his jaws, the bruin clamps down onto the thick blubber of her neck. But “the flailing walrus is immensely powerful.”
With the power of her herd behind her, she escapes into the frigid ocean. By dragging the polar bear away from the shallows with her own weight, the walrus is victorious. And the polar bear remains hungry.
As the bear knows, one stab from those dual tusks could mean death. As one of the largest mammals on earth, walrus’ are well-equipped to fend off all predators. It is typically the weak, sick, or young that fall prey. Desperate times call for desperate measures, however. And as the polar bear’s habitat continues to shrink, any food source must become an option. Even at the risk of death.
For more on the species and their current plight, see our Polar Bear That Killed Alaskan Mother & Son Was ‘Older, In Poor Health,’ Officials Believe next.