Orcas Are Apparently Attacking Boats Almost Every Day Now

Whale of a Tale

For weeks now, the internet has been enraptured by orcas attacking ships and even pleasure yachts — and the ferocious cetaceans show no sign of letting up.

In a new interview with PBS, a man who runs a website that tracks orca sightings and encounters off the coast of the Iberian Peninsula, where in recent months orcas have increasingly attacked and sunken boats, said the angry whales are keeping busy.

"We are having one incident every day, on average, OK?" Rui Alves, the creator of orcas.pt, told the public broadcaster. "There are days we have two or three."

Alves' map for June, it's worth pointing out, shows only 12 attacks so far this month — all of which took place in the Strait of Gibraltar, the area between Spain and Morocco — which falls mildly short of one attack per day, but point taken: they're still at it.

Gladis Games

In his brief interview, the site creator said he made orcas.pt to help captains know what might await them when they set sail.

"If you spread the word about something that happens in an area, people will avoid that area," Alves told PBS. "Maybe they will keep the boat and say, 'I don't sail today because there are many orcas at that point. I will sail tomorrow, or maybe I will go in another direction.'"

As PBS notes, these Iberian orcas were already unique before these attacks began happening because they're both a genetically distinct subpopulation, and because they're critically endangered.

While nobody knows why the orcas in the Strait of Gibraltar keep attacking boats, one prevailing theory suggests that a female in the pod known as White Gladis may be exacting revenge for an injury gleaned from a boat rudder.

As one might guess, some captains and crews have, as Newsweek reported earlier in the week, begun arming themselves against the pod — though one captain whose vessels have twice been attacked by White Gladis' gang said that that's not the way to handle the situation.

"Bottom line," Kriz said, "is we are in their territory."

It seems, per the orcas.pt maps, at least, that White Gladis would agree.

More on animal attacks: Hawaii Menaced by Furious Wild Chickens