Orca, or killer whales, are the most effective hunters of the sea, but they’re not supposed to be dangerous to humans. So why are Orca now ramming sailing boats of the Spanish and Portuguese coast?

From two boats losing their rudders, to merely having passengers knocked around or bruised, this action seems to be intentional. The latest attack by an Orca on a boat ended with the Orca ramming the boat 15 times – that is not accidental. At the same time about 70 miles South another boat was attacked in a similar way.

The Spanish maritime services have warned boats to keep a distance from Orca, particularly in the straits of Gibraltar where a pod lives. However this appears likely to be a possible as the Orca appear to be specifically searching out boats to attack.

A scary attack on the 29th of July found a delivery boat surrounded by nine Orca. The boat was rammed continually for over an hour the rudder and motor were severely damaged. It isn’t 100% certain, but it is thought that this is the work of one pod of Orca.

No one has yet worked out why this is happening, whether it is just a game for this pod, or what. We can only hope that this is the case, and that they individuals in question will lose interest. If we don’t reduce some of the damage that humans are doing, it could well lead to the loss of this important pod of Orca.

One of the main possibility is hunting competition. Unregulated over-fishing has reduced the local tuna population to alarmingly low levels. It had been noted that fishermen are taking their signs of tuna presence from the Orca, which means that there is even more conflict as humans are intentionally seeking out Orca to fish, with the intention of stealing the fish from the orca who found them. Also the bait laid for tuna often attracts the Orca themselves.

Another possibility is that they Orca got used to the enforced quiet that occurred during lock-down as boats couldn’t go out. Could this pod be irritated by the noise that has returned?

The issue is that we are dealing with incredibly intelligent apex predators. The cause could be anything from anger for some damage done by humans to simply a game. One can only hope that what ever is causing this stops. Orca are extremely important to the health of the seas but it is unlikely that this pod will be allowed to survive for long if they continue to attack humans in this way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

See Animals Wild