Daily Beast - During Shark Week filming earlier this year, a drone camera captured footage of a pack of orca whales (killer whales) killing a great white shark. Nothing like this has been captured for Shark Week before, and it is crucial video evidence to support scientists’ theories that great whites are migrating—or rather fleeing—from their usual habitats because they are being hunted by orcas, a new phenomenon.
The stunning footage will debut on Thursday in the special Shark House. ...
Alison Towner, a scientist based in South Africa, has been studying the movement ecology of great white sharks for 15 years and has published a recent paper on the orcas’ shocking predation of great whites.
This footage, she reiterates several times as we speak over the phone, isn’t just astonishing—it’s historic. “It's probably one of the most beautiful pieces of natural history ever filmed.”
“I really do think once that footage airs, it's going to go viral,” she tells the Daily Beast. “The whole world is going to go into a frenzy about it because it's just so unique.”
Alison Towner will get no argument from me about the historic and viral value of this footage. And I say this as a guy who, as Ellen Brody described Matt Hooper, is "in sharks." It's ironic that the boat her husband, Hooper and Quint used to kill a great white was called Orca, but I digress.
Like probably most of you, I'm a big great white guy. That is, the shark species; the 1980s hair band of the same name, not so much. (Somebody stop me before I sub-reference again.) But at heart, I lean toward being partial to my own kind, which is mammals. So this is a big win for air-breathing vertebrates who give live birth and nurse their young. These great whites act tall big and bad around seals and baby sea lions. Which is easy, since they're essentially little floating Quarter Pounders, without the scales, spikes or tentacles to defend themselves. Which is why Shark Week has given us three decades worth of entertainment out of great whites bellying up to the all-you-can-eat seal buffet.
But these orcas showed this one the true definition of Apex Predator. And I for one am all for seeing more content like this. Anyone who's seen the Blackfish documentary would agree, these majestic, highly intelligent creatures deserve every break they can find in the seas. To prove it's their ocean, the other species are just living in it.
To me, there is simply nothing quite as gratifying as watching someone who's been lording it over smaller, more vulnerable creatures get the table turned on them. To receive their well-deserved comeuppance. It reminds me of this club in South Boston me and some friends used to go to hear live music. And depending on the band, there would sometimes be this element of giant assholes looking to start trouble. I called them The Bullies. And we did a good job of navigating around The Bullies without incident through many a show. Because who goes out on a weekend looking for that smoke? Until one time George Thoroughgood and the Destroyers came to play. And he attracted serious, hardcore bullies. Biker gangs, ex-convicts, habitual criminal offenders. Real Uber-Bullies. Who proceeded to take no notice of me and my buddies, and targeted their wrath at the regular, workaday, garden-variety Bullies, while we just watched the concert and semi-enjoyed the derivative, uninspired music. In that scenario, that first group was this shark. The second group was this pod of orcas. We were the seals, swimming nearby enjoying the carnage.
Apparently the orcas love livers, and the great whites have the biggest, tastiest ones in the sea. More power to them. I hope as drones improve, we get more footage like this. And, God willing, someday Orca Week.
I know I said stop me, but here's one last reference. Because no blog on the topic would be complete without it.