Wild orca footage emerges after shark carcass washes up on beach

There are increasing reports of killer whales targeting fishing boats and also sharks.

Researchers have captured the wild moment an orca attacked a great white shark off the coast of South Africa's Western Cape Province on Tuesday.

Experts from the Oceans Research Institute and Sea Search witnessed the killer whale — they've named Starboard — attack the 2.5-metre animal just one day before finding another shark washed up on the beach.

Photos and videos show the two ocean predators splashing about in the ocean near Seal Island off Cape Town. While killer whales are known to hunt in packs, in this instance, there was just one.

Killer whale or orca attacking white shark in water.
The killer whale was filmed attacking the great white shark off the coast of South Africa. Source: Oceans Research Institute

"In under two minutes, Starboard alone pushed the shark to the surface of the water repeatedly," the researchers shared on Facebook this week. Studies show great white sharks often display "evasive behaviour" when being targeted by killer whales.

"As great whites are in a precarious situation due to fishing and bycatch, every one we lose has a negative impact on their population," the researchers said. Killer whales are known to kill a shark and eat its liver.

Another shark washes up dead

The following day, the researchers discovered another 2.9 metre white shark washed up dead on a beach further along the South African coast. The shark research unit was the first to respond to the scene and established a perimeter to preserve the animal for necropsy and sampling.

The experts believe it was not the same shark they witnessed in the water the day before based on photo ID, and said they're "currently watching for another carcass to wash ashore".

"We are asking you to help us look for a second shark carcass," the Oceans Research Institute said in a separate post showing photos of the shark carcass on the beach.

Dead great white shark washed up on beach in South Africa.
A 2.9m great white shark washed up on a beach in South Africa's Western Cape province this week. Source: Oceans Research Institute

String of orca attacks around the world

There have been recent reports of killer whales attacking fishing boats, with dozens of orca attacks on vessels recorded so far this year on the Spanish and Portuguese coasts. And this week, the first attack was carried out in the North Sea off Scotland.

According to the research group GTOA, which tracks populations of the Iberian orca sub-species, the incident followed at least 20 interactions in May alone in the Strait of Gibraltar between small vessels and the highly social apex predators. In 2022, there were 207 reported interactions, GTOA data showed, AAP reported.

Last year the body of another great white shark killed by two "serial" killer whales washed ashore in South Africa. The dead shark washed up on Hartenbos, Mossel Bay, before washing back out to sea, 9News reported.

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