Behind the Lens: The Gregarious, Mighty Walrus of the Arctic
The Arctic is a breathtaking frozen world that has a special place in the heart of Silversea expedition guide and filmmaker Denis Elterman. He is beguiled not only by its icy white emptiness, but also its wildlife.
During an expedition to the region his lens fell upon a particularly social tusked marine mammal – the walrus.
Denis and fellow travelers watched as a number of walrus socialized closely together on land, communicating with bellows and grunts, their flippers facing skyward. These large whiskered creatures live in walrus colonies referred to as herds, and are covered in blubber for good reason. This thick layer of fat stores energy and helps with buoyancy and insulation.
These residents of the Arctic can live up to 40 years old and both male and female walrus boast those magnificent tusks which they use for pulling themselves onto ice, punching breathing holes into ice and sometimes fighting their own kind.
As Denis cruised through the placid waters on this expedition with a mountainous backdrop, he was exhilarated to see a community of walrus swimming and bobbing their heads above the waterline. He noticed that they were just as curious about humans as they were about them.
The momentous once-in-a-lifetime thrill behind the camera though was when he caught sight of a walrus family relaxing on an ice floe. A newborn walrus pup took precedence as they all huddled together. It was a chance wildlife encounter that will always be a treasured sighting for Denis.