Orcas hunting and killing were filmed for the first time White shark off South Africa. Thus, scientists document the ability of mammals to hunt one of the largest marine predators in the world, writes AFP.
The footage was shot in May by helicopter and drone. They formed the basis of a study published this week. The video shows a herd of killer whales chasing sharks for an hour off Mossel Bay harbour.
“Such behavior has never been observed in detail before, and certainly not from the air,” says lead study author Alison Towner. He is a shark specialist at the Academy of Marine Dynamics near Cape Town.
Footage shows five killer whales chasing and killing a great white shark. Scientists believe three others were mutilated to death during the hunt.
Killer whales, being apex predators, have been known to prey on other shark species. However, evidence of attacks on great white sharks is limited.
The study, published in the journal Ecology, does not explain the reasons for such behavior.
One of the killer whales had attacked great white sharks before, but the other four had not. The researchers’ assumption is that the practice is spreading because previous studies have found that black and white predators can learn from each other through “cultural transmission”.
After the attack, the sharks in the area disappeared. Over the next 45 days, only one great white shark was sighted.