In the fight between a walrus and the Russian navy, the walrus has emerged victorious.
Walruses are terrifying creatures. Weighing in at over 4,400 lbs (2,000 kg), males are armed with enormous tusks that they use for mating displays, dragging themselves up onto the ice, and for defense. They’re also surprisingly fast even out of the water, and also extremely territorial. You don’t want to mess with 4,000 lbs of angry walrus.
Which is a lesson the Russian Navy knows all too well. When a female walrus charged the landing boat of an Arctic expedition, they abandoned ship immediately.
Thankfully, there were no injuries to either the crew or the walrus. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the female walrus was protecting its calves when the landing ship got a little too close. Exact details of what the walrus did to the ship in order to sink it are unknown, but again, 4,000 lbs of angry walrus can accomplish a lot.
"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 Ministry wrote.
As for what the Russian Navy was doing out in the Arctic, they were on a joint expedition between the Northern Fleet and the Russian Geographical Society. The Northern Fleet has ice breakers and landing craft designed to handle the harsh Arctic weather, while the Geographical Society is looking to investigate flora, fauna, and observe glacial movements.
As you're probably already aware, global warming is causing the polar ice caps to melt. This means that while New York and other coastal cities become flooded, the northern parts of the world that are normally covered in ice will become traversable. Russian interests in the region center around defense (where Russia has made a claim to the Arctic) and the likelihood of mineral and energy deposits.
The RGO wrote on their website that they're also looking to retrace the steps of famous Arctic expeditions, such as those by Austro-Hungarian officer Julius von Payer in 1874, and American explorer Walter Wellman in 1898.