Category Archive 'Killer Whales'

16 Nov 2020

Killer Whales Attacking Boats

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The BBC reports on at least 40 incidents of killer whales attacking boats off the coasts of Spain and Portugal.

[There have been] at least 40 similar incidents in the area. During the summer of 2020, the strangest of summers for so many of us, a group of killer whales off the coast of Spain and Portugal began to act very strangely indeed.

Accounts of the incidents suggested that the animals were deliberately targeting sailing boats. As David puts it: “They came to us, not the other way around.”

The first reported incident was back in July, the most recent at the end of October.

Behind international headlines about “rogue killer whales”, “orchestrated” orca attacks and the videos shared thousands of times on social media, there is a forensic marine science investigation that is still trying to work out what is driving these complex, intelligent and highly social marine mammals to behave in this way. …

In July, a sailing vessel had to be towed back to shore after a group of orcas repeatedly hit and damaged its rudder.

In August, a French-flagged vessel radioed the coastguard to say it was “under attack” from killer whales.

Later that same day, a Spanish naval yacht, Mirfak, lost part of its rudder after an encounter with orcas. A video of that incident showed the crew trying to outrun the animals, which appeared to pursue the boat.

In September, a man sailing his boat home to Scotland from Spain suddenly had the wheel spun out of his hands. A killer whale broke the surface at the side of the boat and he says that for 45 minutes, the animals bashed and chewed at the rudder, spinning the boat around.

“It’s getting worse and worse,” says Dr Renaud de Stephanis, another biologist involved in the investigation.

RTWT

HT: Bird Dog.


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