Sharks are often regarded to be the ultimate predator – steely machines, leaving terror and blood in their wake.
However, even these magnificent monsters are not immune to becoming prey.
This year, the remains of five great white sharks were found washed up on South African beaches – their carcasses, (with sizes varying between nine and sixteen feet), all with something disturbing in common.
— Bianca (@BiancaRungasamy) May 20, 2017
The particular thing in common they all shared?…
A gruesome wound located between the pectoral fins and liver.
The injuries are said to indicate the sharks being hunted down and killed by a team of killer whales – who’d been after the fiercesome animals’ livers.
According to a Facebook post by Western Cape based shark cage diving company, Marine Dynamics:
The Dyer Island Conservation Trust team was called out again this morning after another deceased shark washed ashore.
Alison Towner, White Shark Biologist, has confirmed it’s a 4.1m male with the exact same injuries as previously deceased sharks, indicating that is an Orca predation.
The team is busy with the retrieval process.
Our Marine Dynamics team is offshore of Dangerpoint tracking the elusive Orca pair, Port and Starboard. These are interesting yet trying times.
According to IFLS, orcas preying on great white sharks isn’t as unusual as it may at first seem:
It’s not unusual for orca’s to target sharks as prey – orca’s off the South African coast have been known to target sharks and rays before, plucking out the liver while leaving the rest of the carcass to drift away.
It’s thought they target the liver of elasmobranchs (as sharks and rays are technically known), due to the organ’s high-energy content.
Unlike most fish, sharks don’t have a swim bladder to help with buoyancy, instead, they’ve evolved an oil-rich liver, which has the dual role of helping them move up and down the water column, while providing them with energy.
Apparently killer whales are "methodically" removing the liver, stomach, and tested of great white sharks to kill them. Right…
— Alex Tweardy (@AlexTweardy) June 28, 2017
Apparently, crafty orcas are able to get an advantage over their notoriously toothy lunch due to their tonic immobility.
This is a strange occurrence where sharks enter a trance-like-state once turned upside down – the unusual blip leaves them vulnerable to any cunning predators who fancy toppling them from the top of the ocean food chain…
Apparently, some groups of orcas have been observed bashing into sharks and holding them upside down.
As some sharks physically cannot breathe if their swimming stops, this can lead to drowning before their organs are torn from their bodies.
Honestly though if one gotta win I'm pulling for the sharks the whales started all this fuckery for some liver nutrients smh greedy fucks
— Brent (@bgayorbstraight) May 11, 2017
Nature is terrifying…
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.