Scientists have been warning that white sharks are migrating – or rather fleeing – from their usual habitats because they are being hunted by killer whales, a new phenomenon.
A shocking scene from Shark Week 2022, An annual week-long programming block since 1988 on the Discovery Channel featuring programs based on these sharks has shown that even top predators are not immune and can become prey. In this case, a great white shark was preyed upon by a pod of killer whales.
This was recently shown in an impressive video of the show shot earlier this year. A drone camera captured footage of killer whales in South Africa’s Mossel Bay, an area that has been a notorious great white hangout, circling a great white shark that is visibly bleeding as a third killer whale gnaws at it the belly.
Video of the unbelievable and fatal encounter was shared by The Daily Beast online and by Marine Dynamics Lead Great White Shark Biologist Alison Towner on Instagram.
“Here are some of the images from the recent great white shark hunt by killer whales,” Towner said on Instagram. “One of the most incredible pieces of natural history ever captured on film. We look forward to sharing the science behind this and the rest of the interaction soon, and believe me there is more!” he added.
Orcas vs. Great White Shark
In the 34 years that have elapsed since the beginning of Shark Week, nothing similar has been captured. But not only that: such images from a drone had never been captured.
Thus, this is crucial video evidence to support scientists’ theories that white sharks are migrating – or rather fleeing – from their usual habitats. because they are being hunted by killer whales, a new phenomenon.
“These are the world’s first images of killer whales preying on a white shark with a drone. It is the first time in South Africa that it has been documented as direct evidence,” Towner told the Daily Beast.
An article recently published in the journal African Journal of Marine Science, in which Towner is lead author, concluded that the area’s aggressive killer whales are likely to blame for the absence of great white sharks.
Researchers in the article, published June 29, found that at least two killer whales hunted the large sharks near South Africa. The researchers also uncovered evidence that killer whales had hunted and killed at least eight great white sharks – often by removing their livers – in the area since 2017, prompting other sharks to flee South African waters.