Iñupiaq Elder Eugene Brower, in Barrow, Alaska, tells the Story of a Rogue Walrus

Video Shot in: 2009

Eugene Brower recounts an encounter with a rogue walrus that lives in the pack ice year-round and preys on seals. As they paddled closer, the animal’s massive grayish head emerged from the water, revealing its impressive size. Excitedly, Eugene and his companions started paddling back to shore, fearing it might attack them. Their boat was moving so swiftly that when they reached the ice, it launched them into the air. The ice was only about as thick as their arms’ length. The walrus came alongside them and emitted a loud noise, stopped to observe the men closely. Eugene estimated the walrus to be about 12 feet wide and over 20 feet long, making it the largest walrus he had ever seen. Initially, the group considered shooting the walrus, but Eugene’s father intervened, reminding them that it was an animal living in its natural habitat, sustaining itself by feeding on seals. His father emphasized the importance of letting the walrus be, as provoking it could result in destructive behavior, such as breaking up the ice they were on. Eugene’s father warned that the walrus could easily break the ice if it came in fast and went on top. This captivating story offers a glimpse into the awe-inspiring encounter with a magnificent marine creature and the wisdom of respecting nature’s balance.