Killer Whales Spreading Dangerous Behavior: Ramming Boats
Data released by GTOA reveals that incidents of orcas, or killer whales, ramming into boats in the region have more than tripled in the past two years. The behavior is said to be spreading through their population, with only a small group of orcas displaying this dangerous behavior. In 2011, the small group consisted of around 39 whales.
GTOA has recorded about 20 instances of this behavior in the area this month alone. The Spanish Transport Ministry has advised boaters to leave the region if they notice any changes in an orca’s direction or speed and to report any interactions.
A study on the disruptive behavior of killer whales was published in 2022. According to Alfredo López Fernandez, co-author of the study, most of the interactions have been harmless. However, at least three ships have sunk since the behavior started in 2020.
While some boaters may feel like they are being attacked, Fernandez mentions that researchers who understand killer whale behavior might characterize it differently. Instead of attacking, the orcas may simply be rubbing against boats.
As of now, it’s unclear why orcas are displaying this dangerous behavior and what can be done to prevent it. The situation raises concerns for boaters and researchers alike as they have to navigate the waters while ensuring their safety and the safety of the animals.
Caitlin O’Kane, a digital content producer for CBS News and its good news brand, The Uplift, highlights the issue and its potential impact on the marine ecosystem.