WATCH: Study Records First Ever Footage Of Orcas Hunting Great White Sharks

WATCH: Study Records First Ever Footage Of Orcas Hunting Great White Sharks

Nature

WATCH: Study Records First Ever Footage Of Orcas Hunting Great White Sharks

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The Great White Shark: A beast, a predator, a tank of the ocean. These guys are incredible creatures. Scary looking enough to inspire Jaws, yet cool enough to inspire a ton of research, education, and conservation. Despite the common fear of sharks in general, great white sharks generally have no interest in humans. Like how the lion is the king of the jungle, the great white is the king of the ocean. No other ocean life poses a threat to these… oh… wait… never mind.

As much as pop-culture loves the great white shark, the orca stands above them as the apex-predator of the ocean world. Their size alone is definitely an advantage, but they’re also incredibly smart, allowing them to group hunt in a way sharks generally aren’t known to do. Now, for the first time in known history, we have direct evidence of orcas hunting and killing great white sharks.

This footage was taken from drones and helicopters off the coast of South Africa back in May of this year. Previously, there had only been evidence of two orcas attacking great white sharks, but it had never been caught in action.  The addition of four new orcas to the hunt has led the authors of the study to believe the behavior may be new and spreading.

This footage has allowed scientists to analyze and understand the great white’s evasion tactics which, likely due to the orcas’ group hunting behavior, were unsuccessfully. The study also confirmed a flight response among the great white population. In the area surrounding the hunt, several sharks had been recorded in the area leading up to the attack, but 45 days after the film was recorded, only a single shark was spotted.

“We first observed the flight responses of seven gills and white sharks to the presence of killer whales Port and Starboard in False Bay in 2015 and 2017. The sharks ultimately abandoned former key habitats, which has had significant knock-on effects for both the ecosystem and shark-related tourism.” Dr. Alison Kock, shark expert and marine biologist for the South African National Parks

Image Credit: Sea Search Research & Conservation

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