A drone films killer whales killing a great white shark, a first

Off the harbor in Mossel Bay, South Africa, researchers filmed killer whales orchestrating a group attack to kill a great white shark. Images never seen before.

Scientists have been able to film killer whales killing a great white shark in South Africa, documenting for the first time the ability of these mammals to hunt one of the world’s largest marine predators. A pod of killer whales is seen chasing sharks for an hour off Mossel Bay harbor (southwest), in these images shot in May from a helicopter and drone that serve as the basis for a study published this week.

“This behavior has never been accurately observed before, and certainly not from the air,” study lead author Alison Towner, a shark specialist at the Academy of Marine Dynamics near Cape Town, said in a statement published Tuesday. . One clip shows five killer whales chasing and killing a great white shark and scientists believe three others were mauled to death during the hunt.

What’s next after this announcement?

a flight reaction

“Orcas are very intelligent and social animals. Their group hunting methods make them incredibly effective predators,” says Simon Elwen, a marine mammal specialist and co-author of the study. Killer whales, apex predators, are known to feed on other shark species, but evidence of attacks on great white sharks was limited. The study, published in the scientific journal Ecology, does not answer the reasons for this behavior.

What’s next after this announcement?

One of the orcas had attacked white sharks before, but the other four had not. According to the authors, this suggests that the practice is spreading, as previous studies have established that black and white animals can learn from each other through “cultural transmission.” Sharks disappeared from the area after the attack and only one great white shark was sighted in 45 days, according to the report.

According to its authors, this confirms that sharks have an escape reaction. In previously observed cases, they end up abandoning key old habitats, with consequences for the ecosystem and shark-related tourism, according to marine biologist Alison Kock of South African National Parks.

What’s next after this announcement?

What’s next after this announcement?

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