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Surge in Orca Attacks on Boats Explained by Experts

Surge in Orca Attacks on Boats Explained by Experts

Over the past four years, incidents of orcas attacking boats off the coasts of Portugal and Spain have increased, endangering lives and sinking vessels. According to the International Whaling Commission, these attacks are driven by orcas’ playful interactions with boat rudders.

Renaud de Stephanis, president of Spain’s Conservación, Información y Estudio sobre Cetáceos, explained to USA Today that orcas find the sea a boring place with few objects to interact with, so they engage with boat rudders for entertainment. Expert Alexandre Zerbini noted to the New York Post that young orcas have turned dislodging rudder pieces into an aquatic sport.

Naomi Rose of the Animal Welfare Institute added that orcas imitate each other’s behaviors, contributing to the surge in these incidents. While the orcas enjoy these interactions, they are unaware of the potential harm to boats and people onboard.