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Guilford Hall BreweryBaltimore, MD, United States
 
 

Profs & Pints Baltimore: Orcas vs. Yachts

By Profs and Pints (other events)

Sunday, March 24 2024 4:00 PM 6:30 PM EST
 
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Profs and Pints Baltimore presents: “Orcas vs. Yachts,” a deep dive into why killer whales are damaging boats and what can be done about it, with Naomi Rose, senior scientist in marine mammal biology at the Animal Welfare Institute and guest lecturer at Tufts, James Madison, and other universities.

Along the coasts of France, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, and Morocco lives a critically endangered population of about 40 orcas, or killer whales, that has been gaining notoriety by bumping boats and wrecking rudders.

Only a few orcas were involved in the first such interactions back in 2020. Since then, however, about half of this population has gotten into the act. They’ve rammed the rudders and disabled the navigation of hundreds of vessels—mostly sailing yachts—off the Iberian Peninsula. At least six boats have sunk.

Frustrated and frightened mariners are urging authorities to intervene, raising concern among conservationists, who fear these orcas might end up getting hurt or killed for simply, from the animals’ perspective, interacting with objects in their environment.

Come gain an understanding of why these interactions are happening, why they are unlikely to spread, and if, or how, they might be brought to an end with Dr. Rose, a whale expert who works on numerous marine mammal welfare and conservation issues for the Animal Welfare Institute, a non-profit animal protection organization based in Washington D.C.

Dr. Rose was instrumental in drafting and distributing an open letter from 80 marine mammal experts urging the public not to demonize or mythologize the Iberian orcas. In addition, she recently attended a Madrid workshop convened by Spain’s government where she and fellow experts discussed what the whales are doing, why they are doing it, and what authorities can do to protect both the orcas and the mariners and their vessels.

Her talk will give you a much greater appreciation of orcas and their behavior, as well as an understanding of how scientists are grappling with the dilemmas raised by orcas who aren’t playing by our rules.  (Advance tickets: $13.50 plus sales tax and processing fees. Doors: $17, or $15 with a student ID. Doors open at 3 pm. Talk starts at 4:30.)

Image: Photo by Wolfgang Lucht / Pixabay