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Index – science – Swordfish dolphins are getting tough, they are already sinking ships

Index – science – Swordfish dolphins are getting tough, they are already sinking ships

Three orcas (Ursinus cheek), Also known as the killer whale attack me On May 4, a ship in the Strait of Gibraltar off the coast of Spain. They attacked the yacht at night and hacked the rudder. According to the recollections of Captain Werner Schaufelberger, there were two smaller and one larger orca, and while the little ones were rocking the rudder aft, she rammed the boat with full force from the big side. The captain saw that the little ones were imitating the larger orcas, noticed their technique, and after some swimming, they also hit the ship. The Spanish Coast Guard rescued the crew and the ship was towed to Barbate, however

And the ship sank at the entrance to the port.

Two days earlier, a group of six orcas had attacked another sailing ship, also sailing in the Strait of Gibraltar. witnesses Mother Orca also taught her calves there how to hit the rudder and rock the ship.

The attacks were so severe that a group of more than 13,000 people has already been formed on Facebook, where witnesses and victims share their “experiences”, and videos are uploaded to YouTube.

They drive at the helm

But what can you find them? What do they want from the peasants? You can certainly tell that killer whales aren’t exactly the most revered of animals, but they’re not exactly the reason for the increase in accidents involving ships lately.

One of them has been published in the journal Marine Mammal Science Stady In May 2020, attacks began in the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar and the Iberian Sea, which have since become more frequent. Multi-ton aquatic mammals mostly follow the same tactic: approach the stern of ships and head for the rudder, then blow well and nibble on the hulls. Then when they manage to immobilize them, they suddenly lose interest in them and leave. They really got into it, because since 2020 they have recorded five hundred attacks. Most of them did not cause serious damage, but three ships were sent to the wave grave.

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There is already an aggressive suspect…

They can do that easily. It is one of the fastest swimming marine mammals, it can propel itself forward with its caudal fins at speeds of up to 50 kilometers per hour while driving with its pectoral fins, and it can jump over the water with its whole body, even in an upright position (according to marine biologists, they spy).

Even deer are attacked by the apex predator of the seas

It’s not a whale, but an orca is indeed a killer (Ursinus cheek), Nicknamed sword-winged dolphin, it is the largest species of dolphin belonging to the class Mammalia and the order of even-toed ungulates. Their specimens can grow up to 8 meters long and 6 tons in adulthood. They inhabit all the seas of the world and are on the move forever, covering an average of one hundred kilometers a day.

They swim at the top of the marine food chain, and have no natural enemies (except for humans). Their appetite is limitless (it starts to reach 200 kilograms of prey per day), so they attack and eat almost all large marine animals indiscriminately. Even whales larger than them, the gray whale and the great sperm whale (probably that is why whalers called them killer whales).

The menu is extensive: dolphins, walruses, elephants and sea lions, white sharks, giant reef sharks, electric rays, cod, turtles, penguins, seabirds, moose swimming across the strait, sheep prowling the beaches, dolphin trainers, and dogs visitors.

For now, they are only speculating about the reasons for the unfriendly behavior. It is not excluded that they will peel off the sailboat as a result of some shock. One suspect one White Gladys A female orca is thought to have been hit by a ship, possibly caught in a fishing net, in any case, she may have experienced pain, which led to her changing her behavior and becoming blatantly aggressive. He may have started the attacks on ships a few years ago, and since swordsmen are very social creatures, they like to mimic each other’s behaviour. And, perhaps, the strange custom spread among them more widely, despite the fact that collisions with ships were also dangerous for them. This theory is supported by the fact that in most of the attacks, the rudder blades were bitten off, bent, or broken.

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…but maybe he was just playing

There is also the more benign idea that ships are rammed and ruddered not out of defensive aggression or shock revenge, but just to play. If only because they are incredibly curious, playful, and learnable animals, among which is the shipwreck fad that is currently gaining popularity.

However, the image of killer whales playing mischief isn’t necessarily an exculpatory, indulgent assumption of orca-obsessed marine biologists. It was once recorded in the orca of Puget Sound, Washington Dead salmon They started wearing it on their heads. This trend was started by a female, and it spread quickly. Yet the extravagant fashion craze raged among them for only six weeks, and despite two attempts to revive it the following summer, the salmon hat craze seemed to have faded between them forever. The only question is when will they get tired of the ship crash game, and what will they come up with next.

(Cover photo: François Gohier/VW Pics/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)