Off Europe’s coast, orcas are ganging up on boats

A science-fiction/horror trope is that animals, having had it with human depredations, gain intelligence, organize, and march on humankind. Off the coast of Spain, though, it appears that orcas (aka “killer whales”) are doing just that. It’s a true case of life imitating the Simpsons (or, maybe, “Cows with Guns”). If this is what’s really happening, some climate changistas off the coast of New York and New Jersey had better get worried.

It seems to have started with one orca that experienced severe trauma during a run-in with a boat. That orca started attacking boats, and other orcas are, apparently, following her lead—and they’re organized. No fooling:

Orcas have attacked and sunk a third boat off the Iberian coast of Europe, and experts now believe the behavior is being copied by the rest of the population.

Three orcas (Orcinus orca), also known as killer whales, struck the yacht on the night of May 4 in the Strait of Gibraltar, off the coast of Spain, and pierced the rudder. "There were two smaller and one larger orca," skipper Werner Schaufelberger told the German publication Yacht. "The little ones shook the rudder at the back while the big one repeatedly backed up and rammed the ship with full force from the side."

Schaufelberger said he saw the smaller orcas imitate the larger one. "The two little orcas observed the bigger one’s technique and, with a slight run-up, they too slammed into the boat." Spanish coast guards rescued the crew and towed the boat to Barbate, but it sank at the port entrance.

Two days earlier, a pod of six orcas assailed another sailboat navigating the strait. Greg Blackburn, who was aboard the vessel, looked on as a mother orca appeared to teach her calf how to charge into the rudder. "It was definitely some form of education, teaching going on," Blackburn told 9news.

If that report sounds at all familiar to you, it’s because you’ve watched the Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror episodes and remember the “Snorky” one. I’ve embedded a video below but, if it vanishes, here’s the summary:

In a parody of The Day of the Dolphin and The Birds, Lisa takes pity on the star attraction of Springfield’s Marine World, a dolphin named Snorky, whose trainers let him be humiliated while forced to perform stunts for the crowd’s amusement. After Snorky’s show, Lisa sets the dolphin free to swim in the ocean. Unbeknownst to Lisa, Snorky is actually king of the dolphins and organizes the world’s dolphins into an army to declare war on humanity. The dolphins attack Springfield, first killing Lenny during his whiskey-soaked night swim ("alcohol and nightswimming: it’s a winning combination") and then the Sea Captain (who claims he can stop them) before marching towards the town on their tails. During the town meeting, Snorky takes the stage and reveals he is capable of speaking. Snorky tells Springfield that dolphins used to live on land but were banished to the ocean by humans. Now the dolphins want to banish all mankind to live underwater. The humans refuse to submit to the dolphins’ will without a fight, only to find the dolphins greatly outnumber them. When Lisa is bitten by a small dolphin after removing a set of bottle rings around its face, Homer encourages the townspeople to fight back. A battle ensues between the dolphins and the humans, with heavy casualties on both sides. The end of the story reveals the humans lost the war and have been driven into the sea. Lisa admits she regrets freeing Snorky in the first place, but Marge comforts her that everyone will have to adjust to their new life as "marine animals". As Marge says this, several corpses floating past form the words "The End?" nearby, much to her disgust and sadness.

The story also reminded me of the inspired Cows With Guns song and video. If you aren’t familiar with it, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it:

You may even think of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (mentioned in the Snorky summary).

The bottom line is that it’s not just Hollywood anymore: the animals are organizing!

On a more serious note, if whales really are organizing, the environmentalists in America had better start to worry. That’s because Ahabs with spears are no longer the whales’ worst enemy. Instead, it’s environmental projects—specifically, an offshore wind project outside of New York and New Jersey that seems to be driving whales to mass death:

Scores of whale and dolphin carcasses have washed up along the East Coast in recent months, and particularly on New Jersey and New York-area beaches where no fewer than nine whales have washed ashore just since December. The evidence is not yet incontrovertible, but the deaths coincide with sonic testing in conjunction with massive wind turbine projects. Seismic testing can “injure and kill marine wildlife” such as whales and dolphins holds, according to one environmental group. The Natural Resources Defense Council once went all the way to the Supreme Court in a bid to stop the U.S. Navy’s seismic testing.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Image made using Pixlr AI.

If you experience technical problems, please write to