Killer Whales Keep Attacking and Sinking Boats: Scientists Finally Know Why

For the past five years, killer whales have been ramming and, in some cases, sinking expensive yachts, fishing boats, and motorboats in the pristine waters off the coasts of Spain, Portugal, France, and Morocco.

The reason behind these aggressive interactions has been a mystery—until now.

A multinational group of orca experts, sponsored by the governments of Spain and Portugal, convened in February and has released a report shedding light on the phenomenon. According to the report, what initially appeared to be deliberate attacks on more than 673 boats since 2020 are now believed to be the result of bored teenage orcas seeking amusement.

Cetacean expert Alexandre Zerbini explained that the orcas have essentially started a fad of playing with boat rudders. This behavior, driven by curiosity and a need for stimulation, has led to the unexpected and sometimes destructive encounters with vessels in the region.

The report outlines potential strategies to mitigate these interactions and prevent further damage to boats. By understanding the playful yet disruptive behavior of these young orcas, scientists hope to develop measures that can protect both the whales and maritime activities in these waters.

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