Turns out, in some instances, the Free Willy mammal has the advantage over Jaws.
As part of a new study published by the Ecological Society of America journal, scientists have released drone footage confirming that orca whales do in fact hunt and kill great white sharks.
The video, which was recorded on May 16, shows a pod of killer whales chasing a great white shark — a fellow apex predator — during an hour-long hunt near Mossel Bay, on the Southern Cape of South Africa.
The footage shows five orcas in the pod collaborating in pursuit of the shark, which swam in tight circles in an effort to dodge the whales.
Eventually, the great white shark was mauled and presumably eaten by the orcas. In their report, the scientists claimed three other great white sharks may have also been killed during the hunt.
One of the orcas in the pod, a male nicknamed “Starboard,” has been known to attack sharks in the past. In the video, he is seen eating what appears to be the shark’s liver floating on the water’s surface.
Though great white sharks are known to inhabit the area around Mossel Bay, the scientists provided data alleging shark populations fled the area immediately after the attacks, in what is known as a “flight response.”
Scientists claimed the unprecedented drone footage has provided insight into how orcas pursue, capture and incapacitate large prey like sharks. The evasive tactics of the great white shark have also been studied.
There is not a known reason as to why the orcas attacked the shark, other than simply for food purposes.
The research team is now attempting to determine if “cultural transmission,” or the ability to learn and share information with one another, is occurring between the whales.
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