Scientists theorise reasons for increasing orca attacks on boats

Posted on 23 May 2023 By Jordyn Johnson

There have been continuous reports of orca-boat interactions since 2020, with the last three reported incidents resulting in the orcas completely sinking the boats off the Iberian coast.

The last reported incident of 4 May had three killer whales ramming into a yacht. The Huffington Post reported that Skipper Werner Schaufelberger said that ‘the two little orcas observed the bigger one’s technique and, with a slight run-up, they too slammed into the boat.’

In a recently published report, scientists theorise that these attacks have arisen from a female orca who suffered a traumatic encounter with a boat and is subsequently attacking the boats for revenge purposes.

IOL reports that the female orca, known as White Gladis, is seemingly teaching other adult orcas and their young this aggressive behaviour, attacking the underbody of the boat.

Different theories for the attacks are disturbances by boats or loss of prey. One scientist even said the incidences may just be out of the killer whales’ ‘natural curiosity.’

Although no one was injured in the last three incidences, the report warns that ‘if the situation continues or intensifies, it could become a real concern for the safety of sailors and passengers, but also for the orcas. They may injure ‘themselves by attacking the boats, or be harmed by sailors trying to protect their vessels.’

Pictures: GettyImages

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