Two orcas feast and kill 17 sharks at once

A pair of South Africa’s infa­mous adult male killer whales killed 17 sharks “in one go,” marine biol­o­gists said.

A team from the Marine Dynam­ics Con­ser­va­tion Trust tracked down two orcas named Port and Star­board, which are known to prey on sev­er­al species of sharks.

They found the killer whale “repeat­ed­ly dives in a con­fined area for near­ly two hours before mov­ing offshore.”

A few days lat­er, they found the car­cass­es of 11 of the 17 Sev­engill Sharks on Pur­ley Beach. The sev­en-gill shark can grow up to 3m in length.

The Main Dynam­ics Con­ser­va­tion Trust states, “Each Sev­engill Shark was torn apart and miss­ing its liv­er.” The killer whales also devoured the con­tents of the shark’s stomach.

The Con­ser­va­tion Trust says storm and swell con­di­tions washed up the shark on shore. “This is the largest num­ber of sharks a killer whale has killed in the area at one time,” said Ali­son Town­er, a Ph.D. can­di­date at Rhodes Uni­ver­si­ty and lead of the study. There could very well be more,” he said.

Orcas com­bi have been tracked since 2009, but are best seen in False Bay, South Africa, where they were first spot­ted in 2015.

They are eas­i­ly iden­ti­fi­able due to their unusu­al­ly col­lapsed dor­sal fin.

Pri­or to 2015, sight­ings of great white sharks were fre­quent in the area and not­ed for their spec­tac­u­lar leaps when hunt­ing seals, but today their num­bers are negligible.

Sev­er­al dead white sharks lat­er washed up on the shores of False Bay, all with severe injuries and oily liv­ers torn off. In May 2022, sci­en­tists were able to film Star­board killing a great white shark for the first time.

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