Why Do Orcas Attack Moroccan Boats?

Researchers recently discovered a scientific explanation behind repeated attacks by orcas on boats off the coasts of Morocco, Portugal and Spain. According to a report compiled by biologists, government agencies and maritime experts, the attacks are attributed to growing boredom among the orcas.

The incidents, which have occurred regularly since 2020, mainly target boat rudders. This trend is exacerbated by the recovery of tuna populations in 2020, reducing orcas’ foraging time and increasing their availability for other activities.

René de Stéphanis, orca specialist and president of the CIRCE organization, explains: “For these animals, the sea can become extremely boring. Orcs have little to play with, so they are motivated to manipulate the rudders. »

This behavior has its origins in the games of small sperm whales who discovered the usefulness of boat rudders. Alex Zerbini of the International Whaling Commission says: “A sperm whale played with a rudder, enjoyed the interaction and spread this behavior among its peers, leading to the current situation. »

The attacks are mainly concentrated in the Strait of Gibraltar and along the Atlantic coast of Morocco, Portugal and Spain. According to the Atlantic Orca Working Group (GTOA), approximately 700 incidents have been recorded since May 2020. This behavior is led by a group of approximately 15 orcas, under the leadership of a female named White Glades.

To prevent future attacks, the researchers propose making rudders less attractive, or even removing them altogether. Alex Zerbini concludes: “We neither want to see more boats sink nor expose people to danger, but we also need to ensure the safety of animals. »

These proposed solutions aim to reduce collisions between orcas and boats in the future, hoping to protect both humans and marine animals.

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