The predator that frightens sharks

who can inspire fear in them? There is an animal that can. Guess who is the predator that scares sharks? It is the killer whale.

It is evidenced off the coast of South Africa. The shark population is drastically reduced. An investigation explains the exodus that causes it. The culprits, clearly, are killer whales.

The predator that scares sharks is the killer whale.
The predator that scares sharks is the killer whale.

Table of Contents

Killer whales

This species loves the nutritious livers of great white sharks. Hence the killer whales hunt the famous predators and slurp up their organs. The mass escape of the sharks was observed in the fishing town of Gansbaai on the South African coast. Not so long ago it was something of a mecca for shark watchers.

Since 2017 eight white sharks were found on the shore of Gansbaai. Seven of them had no liver, which is a hallmark of a killer whale attack. The wounds on these sharks are unmistakable and have been attributed to the same pair of killer whales.

Marine biologist Alison Towner found that the predator that scares the sharks is precisely the killer whale. “After an attack, they wouldn’t show up for weeks or months,” she explained.

The team followed 14 sharks that had been GPS-tagged as they fled the area when killer whales were present. Sightings of great white sharks also declined.

Numerous remains of sharks attacked by killer whales were found.
Numerous remains of sharks attacked by killer whales have been found.

Expert hunters

In the absence of great white sharks, coppertip sharks (Carcharhinus brachyurus) replace them. Now killer whales also hunt them. “Balance is crucial in marine ecosystems. What about white sharks that restrict the behavior of fur seals? These could prey on critically endangered African penguins.”

“Simply put, there is a limit to the pressure an ecosystem can withstand. The impact of shark removal by killer whales is likely to be much more far-reaching,” he said.

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