The orca Gladis, or Gladys, the matriarch of a clan, has become a symbol of a problem plaguing authorities and scientists: Attacks on sailboats by these animals in three yearsespecially in Spanish waters.
“They attack directly at the helm: They didn’t circle the boat, they didn’t play, nothing… They hit the rudder at full speed,” he told AFP German Friedrich Sommer, Describe the damage caused by orcas to his sailboat “Muffet”.
Sommer is waiting to have his boat repaired in Barbate (southern province of Cádiz), like another foreign owner who did not want to be named, whose ship lost its rudder in a similar attack.
“He totally lost the rudder” and “They caused structural damage to the hull”, explains Rafael Pecciin charge of the shipyard, pointed out the damage to the sailboat.
Killer whales “are family members, they’re pack members, they’re very intelligent, Elements of Orally Transmitted KnowledgeGarcia Varas recalls.
On the main beach of Barbate, the mast A sailboat sank in early May after an orca attacksilently testifying to the dangers of these events.
Attack or “Interaction”a term used by environmentalists and authorities, They started in 2020 and occurred along the entire Atlantic coast of the Iberian PeninsulaBut especially between Cadiz and Tangier in Morocco, near the Strait of Gibraltar.
“It’s horrible,” wrote Britain’s April Boyes On her Instagram account (april_georgina), she recounts her encounters with these cetaceans.
This is due to the high presence of one of the regions favorite prey of orcasbluefin tuna, which travels across the channel from the Atlantic in spring spawn in the mediterranean.
According to Salvamento Marítimo, the Spanish rescue organization at sea, Ships had 28 ‘interactions’ with orcas in 2023and during 2020-2022 they will reach nearly 500, he estimates Alfredo Lopeza member of the Working Group on Atlantic Orcas (GTOA), at a meeting on the topic in Portugal in March.
“little is known about the cause These interactions,” he explained AFP Jose Luis García Varasresponsible for the marine program of WWF Spain.
In this fertile land of legends there appeared the figure of Gladys, the matriarch of a clan to whom countless attacks were attributed, will pass on their experience to their youth.
President of the environmental organization Agrupación Voluntarios de Trafalgar, Maria Dolores Iglesias thinks Gladys is dead she and her offspring resentment drives them.
Iglesias insisted there was “an orca that was Gladys’ granddaughter,” Its attack is considered “angry”.
GTOA has a family tree of “the Gladis” on their website, they are 15 related and identified killer whales have interacted with the ship, and The famous matriarch is Gladis Lamari.
Renault de Stephanesa PhD in marine science and president of Cetacean Conservation, Information and Research (Circe), sets sail for Satellite tagged killer whaleswhich will allow authorities to find their location “Minimize interaction with ships”according to the Ministry of Ecological Transition.
“They started pounding the rudder continuously for over an hour, and after a Pan-Pan call (emergency), they Be a Mayday (danger to ship or life)they managed to rip off the boat’s rudder,” he added, citing a story with a video showing crew scooping up water to keep it from sinking.
De Stephanis says they are “using various hypotheses” to explain the interaction, which they insist is about People who attribute their actions to “hate” are “game”. But for now, “we can’t make a final conclusion.”
Not all encounters with these cetaceansMales can reach up to 9 meters, females can reach up to 7 meters, and weigh between 3.5 and 6 tons. end up damaging the sailboatbut when they do occur, they are usually in important parts like the rudder.