Why killer whales pounce on sailboats

Why killer whales pounce on sailboats

2023-05-28 08:44:26

The orcas off the Iberian Peninsula are a small, endangered population – and yet they cause a lot of trouble.
Bild: Picture Alliance

A pod of killer whales has learned to disable boats. An expert explains this unique behavior.

VOrcas ram sailing boats and destroy the oar blades. Such behavior is unique in the world, says orca researcher Andrew Trites of the University of Vancouver. He explains what might be behind it.

Mr. Trites, for more than five years you have been researching one of the world’s best and longest scientifically observed groups of orcas off Canada’s west coast. What did you think when you heard about the orca attacks off the Iberian Peninsula that have been happening again and again for the past three years?

I thought about the sailors and how scary it must have been. Orcas are very large animals. If they push a boat around or bite the rudder, it looks menacing. An orca on a mission is very powerful.

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