Protective Walrus Mother Sinks Russian Navy Boat In Arctic Sea

A Russian navy boat sailing the Arctic Sea during a research expedition was sunk by a mother walrus protecting her babies.

The Altai tugboat operated by the Russian navy’s Northern Fleet had researchers from the Russian Geographical Society and other expedition participants onboard as it sailed past a remote island chain called Franz Josef Land in the Arctic Sea, according to Ars Technica.

The boat dispatched a small inflatable craft in shallow waters off the shore of Wilczek Island to bring researchers to Cape Heller.

However, right before the boat was able to reach its destination, it was attacked by a mother walrus that was likely “fearing for her cubs,” a press release from the Russian Geographical Society reported.

“The boat sank, but a tragedy was avoided thanks to the prompt action by the squad leader. All landing participants safely reached the shore,” the press release said.

Another press release from the Russian navy confirmed the story but did not say the boat sank, according to the Barents Observer.

The Northern fleet wrote:

“During the landing at Cape Heller, a group of researchers had to flee from a female walrus who attacked an expedition boat when protecting her cub.”

“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 researchers had set out to conduct glacial and biological surveys of the islands in the Franz Josef Land archipelago.

They were also able to gather artifacts from the 1874 Austro-Hungarian expedition that first mapped the island chain and the 1898-99 expedition by American journalist Walter Wellman. Wellman would later become even more famous by trying to fly to the North Pole by airship, as per Ars Technica.

The Russian Geographical Society was also hoping to find the place where Russian polar explorer Georgy Sedov died. Sedov disappeared while trying to reach the North Pole in 1914.

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