Attack on juvenile is thought to be first known time a lone orca has hunted down a great white
It is a smash and grab that has stunned scientists: in less than two minutes, a killer whale attacked and consumed a great white shark before swimming off with the victim’s liver in its mouth.
Experts say the event off the coast of Mossel Bay in South Africa offers new insights into the predatory behaviour of orcas.
While orcas have previously been documented hunting sharks, dolphins and even whales solo, the newly reported event is thought to be the first known time a lone orca has hunted down the world’s largest predatory fish.
“Killer whales, or orcas, usually team up when they hunt, although they can hunt solitarily,” said Dr Alison Towner, of Rhodes University, who led research into the discovery. “The unusual aspect was witnessing Starboard, the killer whale, hunting a white shark alone and in a remarkably rapid timeframe.”