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Orcas attacking great whites off the coast of South Africa reveals sharks have a flight response

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An area around South Africa known to host Great White Sharks was absent of the apex-predators for about seven weeks after a gaggle was viciously attacked by a pod of killer whales – and this behavior suggests sharks posses a flight response.

Only three studies have ever touched on a flight response amongst sharks, however the latest paper released this month suggests the apex-predators didn’t return to their natural hunting grounds because they were scared off by the gruesome event that had previously occurred.

The invention builds on astounding footage released in June that shows the primary intense of an orca ripping out and feasting on the liver of great white, but never-before-seen clips captured by an overhead helicopter provided more details of the blood bath.

A pilot conducting tourist flights spotted five killer whales swimming together, but quickly separated to ambush 4 great whites in nearby waters – and no less than two, perhaps three, sharks were killed in a single hour.

 Footage captured by a helicopter flying off the coast of South Africa shows five killer whales attacking no less than 4 Great White Sharks. The highest middle picture likely shows a shark’s liver floating on the surface before it’s eaten by the orca

Dr Alison Kock, South African National Parks’ shark expert, said: ‘We first observed the flight responses of seven gills and white sharks to the presence of killer whales Port and Starboard in False Bay in 2015 and 2017. 

‘The sharks ultimately abandoned former key habitats, which has had significant knock-on effects for each the ecosystem and shark-related tourism.’

Although the clips show 4 sharks, beach-based observers reported several sharks in the world about 4 minute before the attack.

The study builds on footage released in June that captured the first instance of an orca whale feasting on a Great White Shark. The whale rips into the sharks abdomen and removes the liver before swallowing the organ

The study builds on footage released in June that captured the primary instance of an orca whale feasting on a Great White Shark. The whale rips into the sharks abdomen and removes the liver before swallowing the organ 

The footage from the helicopter (pictured) reveals what was thought to be an attack on one shark, was actually on a group and it lasted for one-hour

The footage from the helicopter (pictured) reveals what was regarded as an attack on one shark, was actually on a gaggle and it lasted for one-hour

KILLER WHALES VS GREAT WHITE SHARKS 

 Killer whales

Size: Over six tons

Length: As much as 30 feet

Population: 50,000 

Habitat: All oceans 

Lifespan: As much as 90 years 

Predators: Humans

 

 Great White sharks

Size: 2.5 tons

Length: As much as 22 feet

Population: Fewer than 3,500 

Habitat: All temperate coastal waters

Lifespan:  As much as 70 years

Predators: Orcas, humans 

 

 

They said the nice whites randomly began swimming in all different directions and same even moved into shallow waters of just six feet deep.

Scientists from the Marine Dynamics Academy, who studied the videos and authored the paper, determined there have been a complete of 10 sharks observed on May 16 when the killer whales attacked the sharks.

In accordance with the study published in ESA journals, drones released eight days after the predation event only spotted a lone great white.

Cage diving operators who typically see no less than three sharks each trip saw zero swimming within the waters 45 days after – and the operators didn’t observe a single one until July .

‘Given the well-documented, predictable year-round presence of white sharks in Mossel Bay, the sudden absence of white sharks for several weeks immediately after the predation event, supports a flight response by surviving great white sharks in the world,’ the study reads.

The combined footage also provided scientists with a window into how orcas hunt and kill white sharks.

On two occasions, orcas approached sharks closely and slowly, while the shark, as an alternative of fleeing, stayed near the the predator, keeping it in view.

It is a common strategy utilized by seals and turtles used to evade sharks. Nevertheless, as orcas hunt in groups, the researchers imagine it could possibly be ineffective in this example.

Co-author Dr Simon Elwen, a research associate at Stellenbosch University, said: ‘Killer whales are very smart and social animals. Their group hunting methods make them incredibly effective predators.’ 

Researchers  collected data on the area days after the attack had occurred and found Great White Sharks were absent for at least seven weeks. This suggests sharks have a flight response

Researchers  collected data on the world days after the attack had occurred and located Great White Sharks were absent for no less than seven weeks. This means sharks have a flight response 

Previous studies have documented how latest behaviors spread amongst killer whales over time through cultural transmission. 

The authors suggest that if more killer whales adopt the practice of hunting white sharks, then the behavior can have far wider impacts on shark populations.

It’s hoped that their findings will result in the event of higher conservation strategies for Great White sharks.

The variety of sharks in open oceans has fallen by greater than 70 percent in only 50 years.

Three-quarters of species are threatened with extinction – including the Great White – with aspects including climate change and overfishing.

Pair of orcas have killed no less than EIGHT Great White Sharks off the coast of South Africa since 2017 

Two killer whales are thought to have killed no less than eight Great White Sharks off the coast of South Africa since 2017, and managed to scare off many more.

Researchers found that the Great Whites have been avoiding certain regions of the Gansbaai coast for fear of being hunted by orca.

At least seven Great White shark carcasses have washed ashore in False Bay, South Africa, since 2017, with teeth marks indicating they were savaged by orcas. Great Whites that encounter killer whales will immediately abandon their usual hunting ground for up to a year

No less than seven Great White shark carcasses have washed ashore in False Bay, South Africa, since 2017, with teeth marks indicating they were savaged by orcas. Great Whites that encounter killer whales will immediately abandon their usual hunting ground for as much as a 12 months

Lots of the shark carcasses washed up without their livers and hearts, or with other injuries distinctive to the orca pair.

The study used long-term sightings and tagging data. Over five-and-a-half years, 14 sharks were tracked fleeing the areas when the whales are present.

Shark experts on the Dyer Island Conservation Trust claim this means the marine predators trigger the ‘flight’ response to fear in sharks when nearby.

This in turn ends in their rapid, long-term emigration from the world, creating a possibility for an influx of latest predators to deplete other species.

Read more here

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