They Call Him Flipper, Killer ... Or, a Dolphin Gang Attack with a Porpoise

One of the street gangs in West Side Story was the Sharks, but those dancing fancy boys are pussies compared to the real-life Dolphins.

Seemingly random acts of violence by bottlenose dolphins on porpoises have been reported in the Pacific Ocean off California. And recent marine mammal research confirms what could have been guessed: the attackers are young, sexually frustrated young males.

"Porpoises, come out and play-yay!"

Thug life
Thug life
Illustration by Jay Brockman/OC Weekly

Fear not, potential local victims of drive-bys, these bottleneck dolphin gangs have so far confined the bangin' to harbor porposises in Monterey Bay. "Porpicide," as the eggheads are calling it, has only been observed three times between 2007 and 2009, but it's raising alarm because that's apparently three times more than it's ever been witnessed before.

New Scientist reports that Mark Cotter of Okeanis, a non-profit conservation organization in Moss Landing, California, and some colleagues watched in horror as the dolphins chased the porpoises at high speed, rammed and then drowned them.

In one particularly violent attack, three dolphins corralled their victim before seven others joined them to ram the porpoise to death. Cotter found most shocking the fact that two dolphins remained behind to play with the carcass before pushing it towards his boat. "It was almost like they said: 'We're done playing with it, here you go'."

Just like the Bloods did with Biggie Smalls.

The experts have ruled out competition for food as a factor in the porpicide, instead focusing on the fact that 21 of the 23 attackers were males. One theory is the bottlenoses engaged in "object oriented play" during the breeding season.

In other words, when he ain't getting none, a young male's mind moves from sexual lust to blood lust.

As it was mentioned at the top, no need to worry in our southerly waters--until we see "BDG" or "El Fin" tags on the walls of our octopus' garden.


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