Search icon


28th Jul 2022

Rare footage of three orcas killing a great shark for its liver, supports popular theory

Kieran Galpin

Poor Jaws…

Intense footage captured via a drone has shown the moment a small pod of killer whales chowed down on a great white shark after killing it.

Scientists have long thought that great whites have been driven from their feeding grounds in South Africa by a predator just as infamous as itself. Now, this new video taken for the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week has illustrated just how vicious orcas can be.

The clip begins by showing two large whales swimming near the surface of the water in Mossel Bay, South Africa. Out of nowhere, a third orca swims to the surface carrying a nine-foot great white in its jaws. The bright blue water turns red before the animal dives back down with its catch.

According to scientist Alison Towner, the clip is “the world’s first drone footage of killer whales predating on a white shark.” She told The Daily Beast that this is the first “direct evidence” of the long-thought theory.

“It’s probably one of the most beautiful pieces of natural history ever filmed,” she added.

A study penned by Towner and submitted to the African Journal of Marine Science in June suggests that sharks have been fleeing their normal areas because of the whales. Researchers documented instances where sharks washed up on shore with their liver missing, something they attribute to the same pair of orcas.

The video seemingly supports this theory, as the whale is carrying its prey around where its liver typically is.

“What we seem to be witnessing though is a large-scale avoidance strategy, mirroring what we see used by wild dogs in the Serengeti in Tanzania, in response to increased lion presence,” Towner wrote.

As the great whites moved out, bronze whaler sharks moved in, though sadly they are also being hunted by the whales.

“Predator-prey interactions between white sharks, other coastal sharks, and killer whales are increasing in South Africa and are expected to have pronounced impacts on the ecosystem,” the study explained.

Related links: