So, THIS Is Why Orcas Keep Attacking Boats, According To Whale Scientists

Orcas have been attacking boats more and more, but why is it happening?
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We don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s been a spate of orca ‘attacks’ on boats over recent years

The first recorded attack occurred in May 2020 in the Strait of Gibraltar and while this was thought to be an anomaly at the time, it was far from it. In fact, over 600 interactions have been reported since 2020

Strangely, it is just one group of Iberian orcas that are inflicting these terrors. The orcas chase sailboats and break their rudders. Before these attacks started, orcas were never thought to be aggressive to humans.

Speaking to the BBC, one sailor, Andrea Fantini, spoke about his boat being attacked. He said: “We saw the first orca coming, then the second, then the third, and then we were surrounded by orcas. There were seven orcas all around us, and they started to attack the rudder. It was super weird, and a bit scary.”

While that does indeed sound scary, scientists are hesitant to describe them as being ‘attacks’ as the orcas might actually be being playful. Researchers instead describe them as ‘orca interactions.’

The reason behind orca attacks

While people on social media are excited to see a ‘communist uprising’ from these marine mammals, recent research undertaken by the International Whaling Commission has revealed that, actually, the orcas are just playing a little game.

In the report, researchers said: “The behavior has more in common with fads seen elsewhere and seems associated with play or socializing, perhaps encouraged by the recent increased abundance and availability of prey—reducing the time needed for foraging—and by the reduction in negative interactions with fisheries.”

The team also noted that males in another group of whales go through periods of “ritualized ramming or butting of heads” every now and then, with the behavior disappearing and reappearing, once ceasing for 20 years before beginning again.

They’re just silly little (massive) guys! Having fun! Only doing accidental harm!

What mariners should do to avoid orca interactions

Researchers strongly recommend that people do not try to deter orcas, advising: “Move away from the whales as quickly as possible, at least 2 to 3km [1.2 to 1.9 miles] from the area in which the whales were encountered, either toward the coast (in the Gulf of Cádiz and Strait of Gibraltar) or toward an area where rescue can be expedited.”

They said that moving away may not end the interaction but may reduce the chance of damage.