Orca attacks on yachts may be acts of revenge, says scientists

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Orca attacks on yachts may be acts of revenge, says scientists

Three juvenile killer whales from one pod are responsible for the ramming attacks off the Spanish coast

James Badcock

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 form of revenge by the whales after being injured by humans.

Members of the international working group for Atlantic orcas say they have been able to confirm that three juvenile killer whales from the same pod are responsible for the ramming attacks that have damaged boats.

Of the three orcas - which the scientists have collectively named Gladys - a study of photographs has revealed that two sustained injuries to their flanks, which is not the kind of habitual damage the animals’ dorsal fins sustained by accidental brushes with fishing gear. The injuries to white Gladys and black Gladys, so named due to differences in their dorsal fin colouration, appeared between June 20 and August 3. The vast majority of the incidents occurred after this period, leading researchers to suspect that the orcas are retaliating aggressively for the pain they endured...

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