Killer whales are ramming into boats and damaging them. The reason remains a mystery.

Reported incidents of orcas ramming into boats, including yachts and sailboats near the Spanish and Portuguese coast have tripled in the last two years, according to data released by GTOA, a group that researches orcas in the region. said most of the interactions have been harmless, but at least three ships have sunk since the behavior started in 2020.

López Fernandez, a biologist at the University of Aveiro in Portugal, who also works at GTOA, told Live Science the origin of this behavior is unknown. And while there are some reports speculating orcas are teaching each other, he says the behavior may just be spreading to young orcas because they are imitating older orcas.

Trites doesn’t think the incidents are attacks, and while some speculate the whales may be”retaliating,” he doesn’t believe that theory.”I read that something triggered one of the adult females and she is exacting revenge and teaching the others to do that too by ramming vessels and trying to intentionally sink them,” he said.”To ram a vessel makes as much sense as me running full speed into a brick wall. You’re going to get injured.”

He said he doesn’t believe this idea, or the theory that whales are mad that there are too many boats in the ocean. His theory?”I think it’s just playful behavior that’s gotten way out of hand,” he said. headtopics.

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