News from the Natural World: Rogue Orcas have been fiddling with propellors in the Atlantic whilst humans torture their species in tiny tanks.
News from the Natural World: Rogue Orcas have been fiddling with propellors in the Atlantic whilst humans torture their species in tiny tanks. In the past six months, there have been at least 40 reported incidents involving Orcas off the coasts of Spain and Portugal. “I don’t frighten easily and this was terrifying,” human skipper David Smith recalls. For some two hours, a group of rogue Orcas rammed the underside of the 45ft (13.7m) yacht he was sailing off the coast of Portugal. In July, a sailing vessel had to be towed back to shore after a group of orcas repeatedly hit and damaged its rudder. In August, a French-flagged vessel radioed the coastguard to say it was “under attack” from Orcas. Later that same day, a Spanish naval yacht, Mirfak, lost part of its rudder after an encounter with orcas. But what were these rogue Orcas doing and why? In order to understand, we must take a look at Orca history. Orcas were historically hunted and seen by fishing communities as a complete nuisance. This changed in the 1960s when an equally dangerous fascination with the animals rose. Countless Orcas were stolen for display in marine parks and, to the delight of thousands of spectators, to perform tricks with a trainer. However, many human Conservationists campaigned against Orca captivity for decades. This gathered momentum with the release of the 2013 movie Blackfish. This made the case that Tilikum (an Orca that killed human trainers) suffered mental trauma because of life in captivity. It was this trauma that drove him to attack people. This gives us a clue as to why Orcas are messing around with boats in the Atlantic. But it is also very important to quantify the context. We managed to interview one of the Orca.