A drone video shows a 14-foot great white shark drowning a young humpback whale, in what is likely a first verified report of a shark successfully hunting a whale according to researchers.
Drone video shows a great white shark drowning a humpback whale
The wildlife footage was captured by a drone off the coast of South Africa when researchers observed the great white shark biting the whale’s tale before dragging the mammal down and eventually drowning it.
The Independent reported that Ryan Johnson, research coordinator for Blue Wilderness Research unit, filmed the encounter by chance after a member of the public informed the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI).
The drone video shows the great white shark biting the whale’s tail area, possibly to open up an artery to further weaken its prey. It took about 50 minutes for the shark to kill the 33-foot-long humpback whale.
Mr Johnson said: “From everything I found, this was really the first verified report of a shark successfully killing a live whale. I think… this behaviour is very rare and requires a number of aspects to all come together to be possible. A weak whale passing through a great white hot spot, and then a large and confident great white encountering it.”
It is unlikely for great white sharks to attack full-grown humpback whales as these mammals can inflict serious damage by hitting the shark with their tail.
“In this case, we are talking about one of the planet’s largest predators attacking and killing one of the world’s largest species. It is just fascinating that we live on a planet that can still surprise us with an encounter of this magnitude,” he added.
The drone footage will be included in a documentary about sharks and whales that will air on National Geographic on July 28
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