orcas attacking boats in spain

Then David noticed the lights of a fishing boat in the distance. I’ve seen them attacking sperm whales - that’s aggressive. A group of rogue killer whales has been attacking boats off the coast of Spain and Portugal, and it is getting worse and worse, experts said. For some two hours, a group of killer whales rammed the underside of the 45ft (13.7m) yacht he was sailing off the coast of Portugal. “It was really scary for the people, I can understand that,” says Ruth. And the game is getting worse and worse.”. ActuNautique - Yachting Art Killer whales attack a catamaran off the coast of A Coruna When the killer whales off the Spanish coast are chasing tuna, they can pursue them until the fish are exhausted. While orcas were historically hunted and viewed by fishing communities as dangerous pests, the 1960s saw the beginning of what was arguably an equally dangerous fascination with the animals. En pocas horas han sido 3 las embarcaciones dañadas pic.twitter.com/Brxllh45YU. Renaud worries that this could be a tipping point that could bring the animals into direct conflict with the fishermen, who may see their livelihoods as well as their safety on the line. “It’s getting worse and worse,” says Dr Renaud de Stephanis, another biologist involved in the investigation. No sound for five minutes, then nothing for 10. “We would be wrong to impose our sense of right and wrong on any other animal, let alone one with its own developed sense of culture.”. Teeth marks were also found along the hull. By Elian Peltier Sept. 20, 2020 Velero Urki I informó a las 3.07h que estaba siendo atacado por un grupo de orcas; le rompieron el timón y solicitó remolque. Radioaviso en Rías Bajas por avistamiento de orcas en zona. Fellow sailor, 31-year-old Spaniard Alfonso Gomez-Jordana Martin, reported a similar experience less than a week prior, when a pod of four orcas attacked his 40-foot boat for over an hour and “nearly dislocated the helmsman’s shoulder and spun the whole yacht through 120 degrees.”. Males though will wander off, mixing and mating among other pods. But has our overfishing pushed the younger orcas towards playing with boats? This revelation caused the headlines to kick up an anthropomorphic notch: killer whales were “orchestrating revenge attacks”, said the New York Post. The force that we experienced, it must have hurt them,” he says. They are stealthy, they sneak up on their prey. However we describe it, and however human-centric our judgement, this nudging, biting and ramming of boats is new, potentially dangerous behaviour - both for people on boats and for the killer whales. As the light faded, the reverberating thuds from beneath the boat continued. A group of scientists investigating a spate of attacks by orcas on yachts off the coast of Spain in recent months has said their unprecedented behaviour may be a … “They love it. A ROGUE orca pod is carrying out revenge a ttacks on boats following a harpoon strike by poachers, an expert has warned. “They always seem to go for the rudder, and I think that’s because it’s a mobile part of the vessel,” Ruth explains. They don’t just see the world, they hear it, echolocating and building a picture of their world based on a stream of visual and acoustic information that is all processed at the same time. “It was continuous,” he says. And don’t know why,” he sighs. “These killer whales are always curious around boats, they will approach them,” she tells me. David’s job, since he “quit the rat race to sail” back in 2013, is to deliver new boats to where their owners want them moored. On social media, amid gifs and jokes about the ocean fighting back, there were comments suggesting people on their yachts should “stay in their mansions” and that the orcas had been enlisted in a “fight against yacht owners”. “And this deafening noise as they communicated, whistling to each other. The attack lasted over an hour, and Morris feared she would have to … I just thought people were scared and were misinterpreting what was happening.”. Their survival remains precarious. Later the same day, a Spanish naval yacht, Mirfak, lost part of its rudder after an encounter with a grouo of orcas under the stern in the Rias Baixas, as it was heading towards Baiona. “But touching them and causing damage? They were ramming the keel, there was this horrible echo, I thought they could capsize the boat,” Morris said. Killer whale pods have been attacking boats in Spain and Portugal since July (Credit: Spanish Ministry of Transport, Mobility, and Urban Agenda) Killer whales, or orcas, are the largest members of the oceanic dolphin family. Behind international headlines about “rogue killer whales”, “orchestrated” orca attacks and the videos shared thousands of times on social media, there is a forensic marine science investigation that is still trying to work out what is driving these complex, intelligent and highly social marine mammals to behave in this way. Lori thinks we set ourselves up to misunderstand the species entirely by trying to lump their behaviour into simple categories like good or bad, aggressive or playful. This website uses cookies. “I was definitely preparing to ask the Portuguese coastguard to send a helicopter to get us off.”. Later that same day, a Spanish naval yacht, Mirfak, lost part of its rudder after an encounter with orcas. News reports of orcas attacking boats off the coast of Spain emerged at the start of September, with encounters having started as early as July. When they reached Gibraltar to carry out a more thorough check for damage, their boat became another piece of evidence in the ongoing investigation. The first reported incident was back in July, the most recent at the end of October. Scientists and those who are used to sailing the Gibraltar Straits are baffled and concerned about recent attacks on boats in the area by pods (or possibly a particular pod) of orca, The Guardian reported. The incidents were similar, commencing with a loss of steering and violent movements of the wheel/ helm, followed by whales breaking the surface near the boats. La salvamar Betelgeuse remolca hacia A Coruña al último velero afectado por las acometidas de las orcas , el británico Aliana. The animals live, migrate and socialise in closely connected family groups that have developed different hunting techniques and modes of communication. Life alone in a concrete pool certainly bears little to no resemblance to the natural existence of a wild orca. It led the Portuguese coastguard to ban small sailing vessels from a stretch of sea where some of the incidents had been reported. Some populations will only eat fish, preferring one particular type. Conservationists campaigned against orca captivity for decades. A killer whale broke the surface at the side of the boat and he says that for 45 minutes, the animals bashed and chewed at the rudder, spinning the boat around. “From what I’m seeing, it’s mainly two of those guys [the Gladises] in particular that are just going crazy,” he says. “We put up the sail, with the idea that if things really went south, we would have another boat to jump onto.”. Back in the mid-1990s, Renaud and his colleagues noticed that one of these orca pods had started to steal tuna from tuna boats, eating the bluefin from the end of longlines that trail in the water. Neuroscientist Lori Marino, president of the Whale Sanctuary Project, is one of the few people to have seen inside the brain of a killer whale. Read about our approach to external linking. “After about an hour, we were confident they’d left us.”. They compared footage of the incidents to a catalogue of images captured and used by CIRCE to identify the animals. Killer whales have been carrying out revenge attacks on boats in Spain. An orca from the pod believed to be attacking sailboats off the coast of Spain this summer displays scars indicating a harpoon attack, in this shot taken by a whale-watching operation. Although the majority of orcas ignore boats at sea, there are a few in northern Spain that are apparently interested in ramming into them, setting off a string of questions and a bit of apprehension. Since killer whales learn from each other, the young animals in that pod learned the same trick. Have they seen mothers and grandmothers taking tuna from long lines and put their own adolescent spin on that family tradition? Killer whales orchestrating revenge attacks on boats off Spain Se movilizó la LS Langosteira de #CruzRoja que lo remolcó hasta Cedeira pic.twitter.com/2lKKQMOQd5, Os mostramos otro vídeo grabado por el velero Urki I de madrugada. La emergencia sucedió 4 millas al NW de Cedeira #SeguridadNáuticapic.twitter.com/NbzjlZw0s3, Otro vídeo del ataque de las orcas al Urki I #SeguridadNáuticapic.twitter.com/unWxcr894j. Three orcas rammed a boat off the coast of Spain as it was travelling to Scotland. Be as “uninteresting” as possible, they said. “We make them into caricatures,” she says. And the number of “thefts” from the boats has also gone up. “They just play, play and play. But one killer whale, a large male called Tilikum who spent most of his life at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida, brought the issue global headlines when he was involved in the deaths of three people. According to The Guardian, over the last two months, several boats have been damaged as a result of attacks by orcas. Source:istock . A spate of attacks on boats by killer whales along the coast of Portugal and Spain have left ocean scientists baffled. Despite this, some more recent behaviour is causing scientists genuine concern. “The real truth is not either one of those things. As David puts it: “They came to us, not the other way around.”. In August, a French-flagged vessel radioed the coastguard to say it was “under attack” from killer whales. Sailors were reporting orcas ramming their … And, as the bluefin gradually recovered, so did the killer whales. Read RT Privacy policy to find out more. But there is a bigger reason for Ruth, Renaud and the team to try to adjust the language associated with these incidents. We see, in some of the videos, the sailing boat turning almost 180 degrees. Most have taken place off Spain’s north-west coast, but six vessels were rammed by the mammals in the Straits of Gibraltar and five in Portuguese waters. A pod of orcas moving toward a boat in northern Spain Credit: Newsflash. In several attacks over the last couple of months, orcas have damaged boats and injured sailors. “We can’t characterise them in one dimension. That crew also reported the animals bit off part of the rudder. As top predators, aggression, dominance and shows of strength are likely to be key elements of any formative “play”. “If that fractures, you’re really in trouble,” he says. “So then we were just drifting. A video of that incident showed the crew trying to outrun the animals, which appeared to pursue the boat. “And their ability to process information is orders of magnitude faster than ours,” she says. It was so loud that we had to shout.”. Her boat needed to be towed to safety as a result of the damage sustained in the attack, which included a destroyed rudder. “But we don’t want to call it an attack. The scientists published their conclusions about the identity of the culprits, and immediately there were news reports of the “rogue pod” and the marauding “teenagers”. The boat was 20 miles (32.2km) off Porto, at least three hours from the Portuguese coast. It just seems to be something they really like and that’s it.”. But the ongoing conservation crisis does not explain why some of them suddenly started to behave so bizarrely and apparently aggressively around boats. By Peter Janssen September 14, 2020 Orcas, aka killer whales, have attacked several boats off the coasts of Spain and Portugal in the past few months, and marine scientists are trying to figure out why. Her 46-foot boat was attacked in July, as a pugnacious pod of killer whales spun her boat 180 degrees and disabled the engine, causing it to drift into the Strait of Gibraltar shipping lanes where it had to wait an hour and a half for rescue. But there is one conclusion the scientists have confidently drawn from their investigation and from their years of observing these killer whales: they were playing. In July, a sailing vessel had to be towed back to shore after a group of orcas repeatedly hit and damaged its rudder. Subscribe to RT newsletter to get stories the mainstream media won’t tell you, Swim of a lifetime: Woman surrounded by killer whales in epic drone footage, Extremely rare & ‘undescribed’ killer whale spotted in amazing breakthrough (VIDEO), Cutting it close: NASA just detected two asteroids headed towards the Earth… with two more right behind, Gorge-us! “When they hunt, you don’t hear or see them. In this case, he was part of a team delivering a catamaran from France to Gibraltar. “The thing is - we don’t know what came first, the injury or the first incident with a boat.”. “But these guys, they are playing,” he says of the recent encounters between orcas and boats. Renaud, though, does admit being frustrated and genuinely worried by the orcas’ behaviour. The crew moved the boat closer to the coast - back within radio range. Procedía de Finisterre con destino a Gijón con 2 tripulantes españoles. “They were right at the back of the boat.”. We call it an interaction.”. But for David, the skipper who encountered the killer whales, the word “play” sits uncomfortably with what he felt that evening. Victoria Morris was on a 46-foot boat in Spain on July 29 when an orca attacked the vessel. Share this story! A sense of curiosity and excitement very quickly turned to fear when one orca disappeared beneath the boat and there was a loud thumping sound from the hull. Michael thinks there is something fundamental about our mentality around big predators. Groups of killer whales have been reported attacking boats off the coasts of Spain and Portugal over the past few months, targeting sailboats from the Strait of Gibraltar in the southern Iberian peninsula to Galicia on Spain's northwestern Atlantic coast. “They’re young males, they’re going to be rambunctious,” says Lori. Renaud and Ruth used to work together on orca research; Renaud has been studying this population of killer whales since the 1990s. “I don’t frighten easily and this was terrifying,” skipper David Smith recalls of a late evening in October when his boat was approached by what looked at first like dolphins. So far, the researchers have not worked out which family “the three Gladises” belong to. Over the past two months, orcas have damaged around a dozen boats off of Spain and Portugal, baffling marine biologists and sailors. Sailor Victoria Morris described what she dubbed an "orchestrated" attack by a group of nine orcas which surrounded her boat and rammed it for over an hour. Families generally stick closely together, with long-lived grandmothers helping to raise young and to teach youngsters to hunt. The 2013 movie Blackfish made the case that Tilikum suffered mental trauma because of life in captivity, and that drove him to attack people. In late July, Morris was crewing a 46-ft delivery boat in Spain when nine orcas surrounded her. Renaud has seen signs of concerning behaviour whilst out on his own boat. Small yachts have been ordered to steer clear of a stretch of water off the north-west coast of Spain after at least three boats were damaged by a gang of boisterous orcas. “I looked at this animal - and it was jet black and brilliant white.”. Spain has suspended yachting off its north-west coast after a series of attacks by orcas ramming into sailing boats in the Atlantic. During the summer of 2020, the strangest of summers for so many of us, a group of killer whales off the coast of Spain and Portugal began to act very strangely indeed. Ruth does not give much credence to the idea of vengeful orcas. While Renaud still rejects the idea of vengeful orcas - or even that the killer whales want to damage the boats at all - he cites decades of research when he suggests this could be part of a cultural shift that is actually helping the animals to survive. The UK’s Sun newspaper reported that a “rogue pod” was attacking boats “in REVENGE”. Footage of a pod of whales ‘attacking’ and damaging the Navy yacht went viral and sparked a warning from Spain’s sea rescue service, Salvamento Maritimo. Lori says humans cannot even be expected to imagine how killer whales experience the world. In September, a man sailing his boat home to Scotland from Spain suddenly had the wheel spun out of his hands. Reports of boats being attacked by killer whales along the coast of Spain and Portugal date back to July. This specific population of orcas is listed as critically endangered and protected by law. As investigations into the spate of attacks continue, Spanish authorities are warning sailors to keep their distance from orca pods. “They can weigh 4-5 tonnes and when they play they really play,” says Renaud. They seemed to be going for the rudder, the wheel would just start spinning really fast every time there was an impact.”. In September, the researchers started gathering evidence. A female orca leaps from the water while breaching in Puget Sound west of Seattle. A French sailboat and a Spanish Navy vessel were attacked but escaped without any major damage,” the Spanish Maritime Rescue posted on Twitter. Killer whales have been “attacking” sailing boats off the coasts of Spain and Portugal, in encounters one mariner said felt “totally orchestrated” and another described as “like a sledgehammer”. Orcas off the coast of Spain and Portugal have been ramming boats in what experts say is … That’s an important lesson to learn.”, Graphics: Gerry Fletcher, Rafael Fernández/Turmares Tarifa, Additional images: Alamy, The Anatomical Record, David Smith. It quickly became apparent that they were much bigger than dolphins. Se solicita a embarcaciones que no intenten aproximarse, den amplio resguardo e informen. The media coverage became stranger - and a little darker - when the scientists also revealed that Gladis white had quite a severe injury on his head: a gash that appeared to have been caused by a boat, possibly by a propeller. As the wheel spun back and forth, he thought the animals might be about to dislodge the rudder stock - a steering column through the hull of the boat. In September three orcas repeatedly rammed a sailing boat off the coast of Spain for 45 minutes as it traveled to Scotland. The black and white orcas, the largest in … The repeated thudding, unsettling as it was, was not David’s biggest fear. Killer whales have been ramming yachts and boats off the coast of Northern Spain and researchers are puzzled by their behavior. There are no recorded accounts of an orca in the wild killing a human. “I just didn’t believe it at all at first,” says Dr Ruth Esteban, a softly spoken marine scientist who chooses her words carefully, not keen to speculate about something as multi-faceted and complex as orca behaviour. “I don’t have the evidence yet,” he says, “but I would put my hand in the fire and say that this is the pod that the Gladises have come from.”. A marine investigation is ongoing into a spate of attacks by rogue Killer Whales on sailboats in the Atlantic. Groups of killer whales have been reported attacking boats off the coasts of Spain and Portugal over the past few months, targeting sailboats from the Strait of Gibraltar in the southern Iberian peninsula to Galicia on Spain's northwestern Atlantic coast. “I’ve seen them hunting,” says Renaud. Some 60 killer whales live in these waters today, that dipped to just 39 back in 2011, a decline that the Spanish conservation organisation CIRCE found was driven by a crash in bluefin tuna stocks. All rights reserved. Since summer, the sailors have reported that orcas … Researchers have observed some orcas appearing to “celebrate” after a kill. SAILING has been banned on a stretch of Spain’s northern coastline after killer whales badly battered boats in the area sparking fears for crew's safety. Many have tried. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, orcas were captured for display in marine parks and, to the delight of thousands of spectators, to perform tricks with a trainer. Other species can be targets of their apparent boisterousness. And they were behaving very strangely. With their VHF radio out of range, they had to use the satellite phone to contact the coastguard, who advised them to switch off the motor and take down the sails. Experts who study some of the most intractable human-wildlife conflicts in the world, where people may feel their lives are threatened by the proximity of large predators and that their only option is to kill them, have pointed to the role of “provocative language” in fuelling these situations. They’re capable of cruelty, they’re capable of kindness, they’re capable of all kinds of things just like humans. The biological puzzle of why this is happening remains an important one to solve. There are published accounts of the animals smacking seabirds with their flippers and repeatedly catching and releasing them in their mouths. Think your friends would be interested? “I've seen these orcas grow from babies, I know their life stories, I've never seen or heard of attacks,” University of Seville marine biologist Rocio Espada said. In both cases, crews remarked on the risk of injury in trying to keep control of the wheel. 9. “Killer whales sighted in the Rias Bajas area. The unprecedented attacks … “I think there were six or seven animals, but it seemed like the juvenile ones - the smaller ones - were most active. “The noise was really scary. Ya han sufrido acometida un velero francés y otro de la Armada sin daños mayores #SeguridadNautica (foto no referida al caso) pic.twitter.com/QmHdxAKHKZ. No human has been hurt in any of these incidents, and on the advice of the scientists, the coastguard has modified its language. “If they start behaving in a way we don’t like, then they’re mean, aggressive and evil,” he says. Which brings us to a concerning development of orcas attacking boats off the coasts of Spain and Portugal recently. “He said: ‘It looks like we have some large dolphins,’” recalls David. Humans’ relationship with these orcas though has been on a knife-edge ever since we started fishing for more of that highly prized and highly priced bluefin tuna than appears to have been sustainable. Predators including leopards, tigers and wolves are embroiled in conflicts with humans that are putting their survival in question. At one point, one of the larger animals came right to the stern and flipped onto its back – you could see its bright white underside.”. The encounter is one of at least 40 similar incidents in the area. The duration for both incidents were similar, lasting for … Orcas each have a uniquely shaped pale grey saddle patch behind their dorsal fin, which from the surface serves as a killer whale “fingerprint”. Ruth says the language used in news stories and social media posts - even by the coastguard - has been adversarial and loaded. Vessels warned not to approach and report any contact to authorities. “I just find it weird. But while I was on the phone I could hear them ramming the boat. 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The only other encounter he had had with an orca was more than 20 years ago in a Vancouver aquarium, but he was in no doubt that he was looking at a group of killer whales. The first reported incident was back in July, the most recent at the end of October. “There could be an element of play, there could be an element of aggression - of trying to prove themselves.”. Several scientists think the killers of the deep are attacking yachts and boats due to injuries several of them sustained over the summer from rudders, according to The Guardian. Recently, killer whales - assumed to be the Gladises - rammed into two fishing boats off the Portuguese coast. Since July, experts have recorded over thirty attacks on small boats. It is very likely that overfishing was a driver for these culturally conservative killer whales to develop a whole new predatory culture: seeking out lines to take fish from. So orca behaviour that looks like anger, grief or joy is “probably exactly what they’re experiencing”. In the past six months there have been at least 40 reported incidents involving Spain's maritime rescue service uploaded video of fresh attacks Monday, sharing haunting footage of the killer whales toying with yet another victim. The two scientists are now part of a group carrying out an informal investigation into this strange, potentially dangerous behaviour. Ruth now works at the Madeira Whale Museum, but she studied this population of orcas for six years - they were the subject of her PhD. “Parts of their brains - like the limbic system that you can think of as the emotional processor - they share with us,” she explains. … It is a situation playing out around the world. Is not either one of at least 40 reported incidents involving orcas off the coast Spain! Call it an attack invented ” taking bluefin tuna from the fishing lines has increased in.... 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