By Chris Kidd • 06 October 2020 • 21:03
An expert offers his theory on why killer whales are attacking boats in the Strait.
image: Creative Commons
Killer Whales attack back as retribution for a previous incident with a boat, a group of scientists believe.
Experts in Spain and Portugal believe that the recent swathes of violent attacks by groups of Orca’s against local boats may be the direct result of a previous incident.
There have been 22 recent interactions with Killer Whales off the coast of Spain and of that number a third of them have been violent in nature.
The Orca’s first recent attacks on local sailing vessels ocurred on August 10 and in a number of cases the vessels have been left with damage to their steering equipment.
It is believed from photo and video evidence that in 61% of the incidents, the same three whales were clearly present.
Underwater photographs of the whales has been studied by both Spanish and Portuguese scientists and they have identified wounds on two of the repeat offenders.
These wounds appear to be consistent with the damage inflicted on a number of the vessels.
It is common place for the mammals to be interested in the rudders of boats because of the sound they produce and their shape, therefore the scientist believe that an accidental incident between the whales and a ship has caused them to see the vessels as a threat.
A statement by the group of scientists said, “The trigger for this strange and novel behaviour 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,”
“For the moment, we have no clear evidence of when it happened, nor can we say for sure what kind of boat may have been involved, nor whether the incident was accidental or deliberate.”
It is common for these animals to be spotted in the region at this time of year as they follow tuna from the Gulf of Cadiz to the Bay of Biscay.
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Chris has spent a colourful and varied international career in the Arts followed by a substantial career in Education.
Having moved to Spain in 2019 for a different pace and quality of life with his fiancé, he has now taken up a new and exciting role working with the online department of Euro Weekly News.
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