Posted By Lauriel O. Posted On

‘Monster’ Great White Shark Surrounded by Pod of ᴋɪʟʟᴇʀ Whales Filmed Off South Africa’s Coast

A”monster” great white shark surrounded by a group of ᴋɪʟʟᴇʀ whales has been filmed off the coast of South Africa.

The shark and orcas were filmed Donavan Smith, who was leading a boat tour off Knysna, about 250 miles from Cape Town. “This is amazing. This is special stuff,” Smith can be heard saying. “There’s a big great white here in the water. They come and they hunt great whites.”

He describes the shark as a “big, monster great white,” adding it is “half the size of the boat.”

The footage was posted to Smith’s Instagram and YouTube accounts. In the footage, ᴋɪʟʟᴇʀ whales can be seen near the boat, coming to the surface intermittently. “It’s a shark they are hunting,” he says. “They eat sharks.”

He later adds: “They actually bite the tails off [of the great whites] from the back.”

The fate of the shark is unknown.

Last November, a pod of ᴋɪʟʟᴇʀ whales was filmed chasing a great white shark off Seal Island, in Mossel Bay—about 50 miles from Knysna. The footage was shared by Oceans Research, a marine education and conservation organization. “One white shark appears to be unnerved by the presence of the orcas, but another shark didn’t seem too perturbed,” they wrote in a Facebook post.

The relationship between great white sharks and ᴋɪʟʟᴇʀ whales has become increasingly apparent in recent years. In 2015, reports emerged in South Africa of shark carcasses being found in False Bay, off the coast of Cape Town, with their livers missing. Analysis of the bite marks suggests they had been ᴋɪʟʟᴇd by ᴋɪʟʟᴇʀ whales.

In 2017, the carcasses of five great whites were found with similar injuries, suggesting they had been ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋᴇᴅ and ᴋɪʟʟᴇd by ᴋɪʟʟᴇʀ whales.

A year later, great whites were noticeably absent from False Bay—a popular hunting ground for the species, where they are known to jump out of the water to catch seals. It is thought the presence of ᴋɪʟʟᴇʀ whales, and the risk they pose, had caused the great whites to leave the area. Until January, there hadn’t been a single great white sighting for approximately 18 months.

Alison Kock, a marine biologist at South African National Parks, told Newsweek at the time that the return of a great white to False Bay was encouraging, “but it doesn’t signal a return of the sharks until we get more consistent sightings in the Bay and of more than one shark.”

Kock, who also serves on the executive committee of the shark safety program Shark Spotters, said the absence of great whites from False Bay is concerning as they play an important role in the ecosystem there. “White sharks predate on numerous species, such as fish, other sharks, seal and dolphins, and influence these species directly by reducing their numbers, and removing the weak and sick, but they also do so indirectly by influencing the prey’s behavior. For example, Cape fur seals are bolder when white sharks aren’t around, which in turn also has knock-on effects in the ecosystem, altering the way it looks and works.”