Drone Footage Shows Killer Whales Hunting and Eating Great White Sharks

Recurrent readers of CNET Science will recall Port and Starboard, the duo of killer whales from a story we posted in June, which in-depth research exhibiting good white sharks ended up becoming hunted by the whales off the coastline of South Africa. New aerial footage, unveiled on Monday, exhibits one particular member of the murderous pair — Starboard — really generating a get rid of. 

The footage was produced on YouTube as element of a new examine, led by Alison Towner, released on Oct. 3 in the journal Ecology. Towner also led the before study which employed tracking and sensor data to exhibit the fantastic white sightings experienced plummeted as the killer whales moved in. The researchers hypothesized, from evidence uncovered on shark carcasses, that killer whales were hunting the excellent whites and any surviving sharks had rather actually been scared absent from the location.

The new aerial footage, captured by a non-public drone operator and a helicopter pilot’s Samsung S21, seems to verify this and is the initially immediate evidence of orcas killing and taking in wonderful white sharks. It was captured in Might at Mossel Bay, South Africa, and some footage experienced beforehand been launched via the Discovery Channel. 

“This behavior has hardly ever been witnessed in depth ahead of, and definitely hardly ever from the air,” reported Towner, who functions as a senior shark scientist at Marine Dynamics Academy in Gansbaai, South Africa.  

The pictures and movie exhibit some exciting maneuvers — the scientists feel the whales are most likely homing in on the fantastic white shark’s livers, which supply all the sustenance an adult, male killer whale could ask for. The footage reveals some of the attacks are directed just guiding the pectoral fins, potentially to extract the liver. The workforce also analyzed photographs displaying Starboard (a whale easily recognized by its floppy dorsal fin) chowing down on one.

Intriguingly, Towner’s preceding investigation also showed that bronze whaler sharks, an additional massive shark that frequents the South African coastline, started off transferring in as the excellent whites fled. Good whites in some cases feed on the bronze whalers, but the bronze whalers aren’t really as frightened of orcas… so they felt safe more than enough to vacation into Gansbaai and feed on the seal populace. However, a tour operator from the location has viewed killer whales assault bronze whalers, also. Certainly, no shark is safe. 

When Port and Starboard were being recognised to be searching fantastic whites, the new research displays quite a few other killer whales have also joined the hunts. 

It truly is way too early to inform regardless of whether these killer whales are learning the shark-hunting approach from their forebears, but the review states if this is transpiring, “it will have wider reaching impacts on shark populations and will will need to be deemed in future experiments.” 

By lita

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