Killer whales target boats in revenge attacks in Spain

Killer whales target boats in revenge attacks in Spain
Killer whales target boats in revenge attacks in Spain

Forget the jaws – this time it’s personal … for orcas.

Killer whales off the Spanish coast live up to their name, but instead of targeting great white sharks, fish pods or seals as in the past, they are now after people and boats.

Several scientists believe that the killers of the deep attacked yachts and boats because some of them were injured by oars in the summer The guard.

Since July, there have been at least 33 of the bizarre attacks in northern Spain, the Strait of Gibraltar and off Portugal, with the orcas surrounding small vehicles and deliberately ramming the ships’ oars, trying to overturn them. The attacks caused severe damage – and in some cases disabled the ships.

The problem has become so severe that authorities are warning small vehicles not to sail in these seas.

“The trigger for this strange and aggressive behavior could have been an aversive incident that the orcas had with a boat and in which the speed of the boat could have been a critical factor,” a group of scientists said in a statement The guard.

“At the moment we have no clear evidence of when it happened, nor can we say for sure what type of boat it is or whether the incident was accidental or deliberate.”

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The researchers added that due to a possible injury from a boat, the orcas “may have felt compelled to act when they saw a sailboat to slow it down by following its oar” – adding that “the Killer whales could just play with sailboats ‘out of curiosity’ after discovering the ability to slow down or stop a large moving object. ”

In late July, Victoria Morris’s boat was attacked by a pod of nine killer whales, which rammed the boat so hard that the rudder broke and the engine failed.

“The noise was really scary. They rammed the keel, there was this terrible echo, I thought they might overturn the boat, ”Ms. Morris said The guard in another story. “And that deafening sound when they were communicating and whistling with each other. It was so loud that we had to scream. Ms. Morris added that the attack felt “totally orchestrated”.

When their boat was finally towed back to port, a large part of the rudder was missing and the rest was covered in tooth marks.

There were two more hour-long attacks in the area this week – a 12-meter yacht spun on its axis during one attack and the rudder of another boat slammed so hard that the boat’s helmsman slipped his shoulder.

Alfonso Gomez-Jordana Martin, a crew member in the latter attack, told the newspaper, “When we were stopped, they came in faster: 10-15 knots from a distance of about 25 m – the impact tipped the boat sideways.”

In September, Graeme Walker’s 15-meter yacht was attacked for 45 minutes.

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“I felt a bump on the boat and the oar was pulled out of my hand,” he told the newspaper. “I wasn’t sure what was going on, then one of the animals broke the surface on the left side of the boat for air. You never know how these things will play out. None of us have ever been through anything like this before. ”

Meanwhile, orcas in South Africa have stepped up attacks on great white sharks and gutted them for their nutrient-rich organs.

This article originally appeared in the New York Post and was reproduced with permission

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