National Geographic
Known for their large tusks and bulky bodies weighing 2,000 pounds or more, walruses are awkward and sluggish on land but surprisingly agile in the water.
updated 4/5/2004 10:24:39 AM ET 2004-04-05T14:24:39

As springtime dawns on the frozen landscape of Canada’s high Arctic, National Geographic Ultimate Explorer guest correspondent Adam Ravetch sets off in search of one of the region’s most massive and misunderstood animals — the walrus. Known as “The Walrus Man,” Ravetch has devoted his career to documenting the lives of these tusked giants. Ravetch is on a mission to capture on film the drama when polar bears and walruses meet face-to-face. Ravetch also captures the unique and rarely seen behaviors of mother walruses and their newborn calves.

At first glance, the eastern Canadian Arctic seems to be a place of frozen desolation. But, here amidst the ice floes, walruses live an active existence, battling with the elements and against predators for survival. Weighing up to two tons, walruses paint a familiar picture with their characteristic tusks and bristly moustaches. But amazingly, much about these animals remains a mystery. It is Ravetch’s goal to unlock the secrets of these unique creatures.

In “Battle of the Arctic Giants,” Ravetch captures what is believed to be the first underwater footage of a female walrus as she nurses and protects her newborn calf. And, he also films a polar bear rushing into a walrus herd and killing a calf, even facing down the calf’s huge, tusk-wielding mother as she tries in vain to thwart the attack. From the tender to the terrifying, scenes like these illustrate the extreme contrasts in this rugged landscape.

On an epic journey that takes him onto drifting ice floes, diving into sub-zero waters and camping alone on a tiny island with hungry polar bears as neighbors, the California-born Ravetch captures the drama of walruses’ real-life struggles as spring turns to summer in the frozen Arctic.

Atlantic Walrus Fact Sheet

  • Scientific Name: Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus

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