News 19.5.2017 03:38 pm

Orcas kill three great white sharks near Cape Town for their livers

White Shark

White Shark

When they washed up on Cape beaches, it gave an opportunity to scientists to prove Orcas prey on Sharks.

It was the first time that a carcass, let alone three, of a great white was available for dissection after it had been attacked by Orcas, Rising Sun Lenasia reports.

In other attacks of this nature that have been filmed in the ocean, the carcasses of the sharks were ripped to pieces, but in this case, the sharks were mostly intact with the livers and one heart removed with almost surgical precision.

The department of environmental affairs (DEA) confirmed that orca whales were responsible for all three killings, and that they were targeting the large, highly nutritious, squalene rich livers of the sharks.

Small pods of orcas had been spotted around Gansbaai before the attacks.

In the past several cow shark carcasses have been found in False Bay, also with their livers removed in a similar way, after orcas had been spotted in the area.

The first one-ton shark washed up on the beach at Gansbaai, the second washed up at Franskraal and the third at Struisbaai.

Orcas are the only known predators of great white sharks. They are extremely intelligent, specialised hunters that hunt in organised social groups, using echo-location, strategy, and teamwork to kill their prey.

Great whites may be fleeing SA waters. Picture: Caxton Central

Great whites may be fleeing SA waters. Picture: Caxton Central

READ MORE:Sharks Board remove shark nets

 According to figures from the DEA, orca whales are fairly common along the coast of South Africa – from the Western Cape to Northern KwaZulu-Natal.

“The sightings of Orca pods appear to be increasing in South Africa,” they said in a recent statement.

This may have affected the number of great white sightings, as the sharks may be leaving South African waters to avoid the orcas.

South African waters are considered of the best in the world for seeing sharks – Gansbaai is known as the great white capital of the world. Recently local shark diving tours have reported fewer sightings of the animals.

The DEA, along with various shark scientists and marine mammalogists are currently collating all the scientific information about the incidents.

The DEA authorised the dissection of the sharks in conjunction with the White Shark Research Group, Marine Dynamics and the Dyer Island Conservation Trust.

READ MORE:

Sharks Board remove shark nets

Caxton News Service

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