A study conducted with the orcas of Loro Parque and published in the journal Zoo Biology has managed to explain the process of reconciliation after a social conflict of this species. This is the first time that this behaviour has been described for science.
In order to achieve this, the researchers have carried out a detailed analysis of the social relations shown by the orcas and their tendency to reconciliation after their rare episodes of conflict, which represent less than one per cent of all the behaviour patterns displayed by these animals.
Among the documented behaviours, the curious bonding pattern described as the “soft tongue bite” stands out, whereby the tip of the tongue is delicately pinched using the teeth, but without biting. Affiliation interactions between a specific pair of orcas occurred with a significantly higher frequency than expected by chance, indicating a particular affinity between some individuals.
Research on the social behaviour of these cetaceans helps to improve the understanding of interactions in animals living under human care and favours better management of the groups.
Thus, Loro Parque consolidates itself as a study platform to promote the knowledge and improvement of the lives of animals and this work is just one more example of its participation in the advancement of science for the conservation of the marine environment.