The natural circle of life can be very cruel and that was showcased front and center recently when video of dolphins tossing a harbor porpoise in the air.
According to researchers at Sea Watch foundation, attacks such as this are rare and they are unsure why this type of behavior takes place.
“The cause of these incidents is not clear, but aggressive interactions could be due to the high co-occurrence of the two species which can result in competition over a shared food resource, occasionally leading to the death of the smaller species, although other theories have included misdirected infanticide. In the hundreds, if not thousands, of hours I’ve spent photographing the dolphins, I have never witnessed such an attack,” said Chiara Giulia Bertulli of Sea Watch Foundation. “
Previous research has indicated that in some areas of the world porpoises and dolphins will reside in the same areas, which has the potential to create more conflict over territory. Documented attacks appear to be seasonally due to changing testoreone levels in male dolphins.
The waters in the UK are rich with whales, dolphins, and porpoises and can result in more confrontational behavior such as this. Researchers from Sea Watch will be keeping a close eye on the marine mammals in the area in hope to better understand why such cruel behaviors take place.