A group of killer whales attacked a Polish yacht floating in the Strait of Gibraltar. The rudder was damaged and there was a leak, as a result of which the boat sank. – It is not known what the intentions of these marine mammals are – said Agnieszka Veljković from WWF Polska. Scientists have many theories.
A few days ago, a group of killer whales attacked a Polish yacht floating in the Strait of Gibraltar.
– They came up and started hitting – said Lech Lewandowski, the owner of the yacht that was damaged by marine mammals. – A leak occurred after the rudder was damaged. (…) It was large, despite additional efforts from the rescue services, it could not be controlled – he added in an interview with TVN24.
Why do orcs attack? Scientists’ versions
This is not the first such attack by killer whales recently.
– Nearly half a thousand such behaviors have been recorded over the last three years. Orcas approach large vessels and attack the rudder fins, i.e. the moving parts of the yachts. Scientists say it is unknown what the intentions of these marine mammals are. Perhaps it is curiosity or fun, or an attempt at hunting by younger individuals, said Agnieszka Veljković from WWF Polska.
She added that killer whales live in pods led by the oldest and most experienced female. – Scientists tend to believe that the most probable version is that people, fascinated by these predators, approach them too close and disturb their peace, forcing these predators to defend themselves – she explained.
A lot of stress, climate change
The second version, which is also possible, is that these animals are under great stress due to climate change.
– This stress results from the fact that they are simply on the brink of extinction – Veljković noted. Vessels often come too close to killer whales, which causes stress in these animals. – They must take defensive action to defend their lives and their herd – she emphasized.
“There is no clear theory”
– It’s hard to say what the orcas are doing, there is no clear theory – said Artur Krzyżak, marine biologist from the Gdynia Aquarium. – It’s definitely not an attack meaning the destruction of the yacht, because they wouldn’t have stopped at the rudder blade. These are powerful animals with enormous strength. However, how these behaviors are explained, there are many theories, ranging from those related to territorial behavior and defensive behavior, to theories that appeal to me more, those related to enrichment, i.e. those related to play or learning – he explained.
Main photo source: Lech Lewandowski