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A killer whale swims in Monterey Bay, California.
Antsy killer whales

Antsy killer whales

A killer whale swims in Monterey Bay, California.

Why are orcas biting rudders?

In the waters off the coast of Spain and Portugal, hundreds of unsettling encounters between humans and killer whales have been reported by sailors since the summer of 2020. “Interactions” is the word researchers use, because they don’t always end badly. Sometimes the animals shove boats forward quickly or spin them around. Other times they bite or strike the rudder, leaving the sailors unable to steer. No one has been killed or injured so far. But at least five boats have sunk. And the encounters with the planet’s biggest predator seem to be getting more frequent. Why? In this week’s Slow Newscast, Tortoise finds that answers include revenge and, most plausibly, play. We speak to marine biologists about different theories and to sailors who survived the encounters. You can read more about the story here

Photograph Getty Images