Killer Whales Are Slaughtering Great White Sharks by Ripping Out Their Livers

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The Great White Shark.
The Great White Shark.

The mass migration of great white sharks from the coast of South Africa is being caused by a pair of killer whales that have been terrorizing the sharks since 2017. Between 2010-2016, there was an average of 205 great white shark sightings off the coast of South Africa. In 2018 that number was 50. And in 2019, zero. Scientists are blaming killer whales, who are thought to be slaughtering great white sharks off the coast of South Africa by ripping out their livers.

Eight great whites washed up along the coastline between 2017 and 2020. Seven had gaping wounds on their side with their livers having been bitten out by two killer whales in the area. Some were also missing their hearts. Turns out one of the most feared animals on the planet is just a tasty delicacy to these killer whales.

killer whale, orca, eating sharks, great white
Great white sharks are washing up on South African beaches with their livers missing. Credit: MSN

Experts reckon the predator whales have acquired a taste for the sharks’ livers, which are rich in oil and fats, providing a valuable source of energy for the huge marine mammals. The killer whales bite a large slit in the side of the great whites after attacking as a pair and then suck out the 600lb fatty liver, spurning their natural prey like seals in favor of this nutritious treat.

Every year tourists flock to the area hoping to see the great white sharks, but it’s been two years since the Shark Spotters Applied Research Programme has picked up a signal from any of the great white’s that had been tagged by scientists and were resident in the area.

With the absence of great white sharks, the top apex predator, scientists are keeping an eye on how this changes the ecosystem.

killer whale, orca, eating sharks, great white
Killer whale. Credit: NatGeo

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