ANIMAL CURIOSITIES

Why killer whales started ramming boats, scientists try to understand

Scientists are trying to understand why a group of Iberian killer whales started chasing sailboats and breaking their rudders. What would be behind this strange behaviour?

Despite being known as the killer whale, this animal had never been aggressive towards humans in the past, but since 2020 this group of Iberian killer whales has repeatedly engaged in the behaviour that is now being monitored by scientists.

Let us try to understand what scientists are hypothesising in this regard.

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A new behavior seems to be in fashion among a group of orcas
Scientists are trying to understand why a group of Iberian killer whales started chasing sailboats and breaking their rudders. What would be behind this strange behaviour? Despite being known as the killer whale, this animal had never been aggressive towards humans in the past, but since 2020, this group of Iberian killer whales has repeatedly exhibited the behaviour that is now being monitored by scientists. Let us try to understand what the researchers are hypothesising in this regard.
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The research project
The research project was set up by specialist Renaud de Stephanis. The scientist is attempting to explain the behaviour with a very simple experiment: he provides wild orcas with fake rudders and then films them. What has been discovered so far is that the orcas would not bite the rudders but push them with their noses until they break. A kind of game, in short.
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Orcas would just like to play
According to Renaud de Stephanis, if orcas really intended to wreck boats, it would take them ten minutes to do so. Their purpose, however, would only seem to be to play with them. Because of this 'game', at least three yachts would be sunk between 2022 and 2023.
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Reports increase
This new behaviour of killer whales, which essentially takes the form of play for them, seems to be becoming more and more widespread. In 2022, 207 interactions with killer whales were reported (compared to 197 in 2021 and 52 in 2020).
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The two hypotheses formulated by scientists
Scientists have come up with two hypotheses to explain this 'play': the first hypothesis could be summarised in the fact that play is a kind of fun and fashion among killer whales; the second hypothesis could be called the 'trauma' hypothesis, linked to human behaviour that influences these animals anyway.
Art galleries private collections
20/02/2024
Art galleries private collections
19/02/2024
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