Stunning Footage Possibly Links Orcas To Great White Shark Disappearances Off South African Coast

(Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Brent Foster Contributor
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Stunning drone footage caught orcas hunting down and killing a great white shark off Mossel Bay on South Africa’s southern coast, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

The footage, originally captured May 16 by a recreational drone pilot, shows five orcas surrounding an apparently dead great white shark off Hartenbos Beach, according to a study published Monday by the Ecological Society of America in the “Ecology” journal.

Great white shark sightings have drastically declined in the area and scientists have cited orca attacks as a possible cause, according to Bloomberg.

The footage captured one orca biting into the liver region of the great white shark while another, known as “Starboard,” proceeded to eat a piece of the liver at the ocean surface, according to a press release posted Monday by the Ecological Society accompanying the study.

Researchers believe group hunting tactics by the orcas could render traditional shark evasion methods, which include circling close to the orcas, ineffective, the Ecological Society wrote in the statement.

“Starboard” and another orca known as “Port,” named for the tilt of their dorsal fins, were previously linked to great white shark disappearances some 214 miles to the west of Mossel Bay in Cape Town, according to Bloomberg.

While an average of 205 sharks were annually reported off the coast of Cape Town between 2010 and 2016, in the two years leading up to 2020 just one sighting was reported in the area, the outlet noted. (RELATED: Chilling Video Captures Great White Shark Circling Coast Guard Boat)

Social media footage recently captured sharks close to shore in Plettenberg Bay, home to two fatal shark attacks on swimmers since June 28, according to Bloomberg. Plettenberg Bay is a well-known resort location about 70 miles from Mossel Bay.

Human encounters with sharks in 2022 include a New Jersey fisherman who was apparently surprised by a great white shark swimming by his boat, along with fatal shark attacks in Egypt and Colombia.