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Proven: Orcas sink boats for fun

Proven: Orcas sink boats for fun

In regions such as France, Portugal and Spain, orcas have sunk boats. Experts have found that this is actually a way for orcas to play

Orcas have created fear among sailors due to their recent behavior of capsizing and sinking ships. A new report from the International Whaling Commission explains the reasoning behind these actions. Surprisingly: they are simply playful. Contrary to what you might think, it has nothing to do with the territory either aggression on the part of these animals.

The information is featured in material developed by a committee including world-renowned experts in areas related to whales, dolphins and porpoises. The idea is to provide scientific support for decisions related to the management and conservation of these animals.

More than 240 participants contributed material, which covers everything from plastic pollution and climate change to recent (and feared) interactions between orcas and ships.

In these unwanted encounters, orcas push the rudder, sinking some ships and making others unnavigable.

Orcas attack boats

One of the most recent cases occurred last December: in just 45 minutes, the killer whales sank a yacht off the coast of Morocco. Despite the scare, no one was injured and the crew managed to reach land safely.

The people involved belong to a subpopulation of orcas called Iberica, which numbers around 40 individuals. It is considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

But this is not an isolated case: these animals have also caused similar damage in France, Portugal and Spain.


Biologists, in collaboration with government officials and representatives of the marine industry, have published their findings on why a specific group of Orcinus killer whales developed this tendency.

It all comes from a combination of free time, curiosity and the desire to have fun. This subpopulation usually feeds on large fish and, in the region where it lives, the tuna population has increased dramatically.

Result: Orcas spend less time searching for food, so that space has remained commonplace. To overcome their “boredom”, the animals have developed a new hobby: sinking boats.

“Members of the committee are already engaged in evaluating this unique behavior and developing mitigation measures,” reads the International Whaling Commission’s announcement regarding these orca attacks. A new meeting on the topic should take place next September.

Source: International Whaling Commission

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Source: Terra

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