Walrus Sinks Russian Navy Boat

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A female walrus protecting her calf has attacked and sunk a Russian naval vessel in the Franz Josef Land archipelago.

All aboard are reported safe, and the expedition, which has followed the trail of several 19th-century explorers, continues.

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Walrus sinks Russian naval vessel at Franz Josef Land. Picture by Structure.mil.ru

The events took place during a joint expedition with the Russian Geographical Society, who were using the naval tug Altai as part of an exploration of the remote islands.

The Altai itself was apparently unharmed, but a press report (in Russian) from the Geographical Society records one of the Altai’s landing craft was victim to a walrus.

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

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A pack of walruses swimming at Cape Heller at Franz Josef Land. A mother walrus just sank a landing boat. Picture: Леонид Круглов

The Russian Northern Fleet, from which the Altai comes also reported walrus trouble for the expedition at Cape Geller, mentioning the party was forced to flee.

Walruses were once hunted in the area but have been protected since 1952 and their numbers have recovered to more than 1,000. Now, they are angry at humans. Source, Source1, Source2

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