Update: The Great Whites Return To The Cape Waters Following Orca Attacks

Update: The Great Whites Return To The Cape Waters Following Orca Attacks

Posted by Ellie Hutchin on 22nd May 2017

The apex predators of the Cape waters at The Great White Shark Project in South Africa, who are hunted for their dorsal fins and of course their impressive set of teeth, were recently targeted by another predator, one of the most callous killing machines in the ocean; orcas!

killer whale jumping out of the water (orca)

This was an unprecedented occurrence for the region, with only a select few cases ever happening in history around the world. While killer whale hunting habits typically target species of shark and other whales and seals, great whites are normally not on the menu. However, great white shark carcasses washed up on the shores of the region of Kleinbaai, a small harbour town situated in the western cape of South Africa, all with their livers removed.

The orcas feed on the nutrient squalene, which is abundantly present in the livers of the great whites. However, the most mind-boggling aspect, and a forceful reminder of the sheer power of these marine animals, is the precision and the skill it would have taken for the orcas to execute such a procedure.

Orca attacks on great whites in South Africa

Great whites, as many of us are aware, are an endangered species - and these killings are detrimental to the species from a conservation perspective. However, there is positive news! No orcas have been spotted in the area for approximately 20 days, and after weeks of chillingly desolate waters, 2 great whites have been spotted! Also, seals have been spotted once more on the rocks, which is where they hide out when there are sharks gliding beneath the waves below.

The new and friendly project coordinator Jessica, who has found her niche in the conservation of these gracious creatures, says;

“We had good sightings last week on both our trips. Two big males on the first trip and four big sharks on our second trip! The seals are back sitting on the island and southern right whales and their calves were spotted yesterday. Also, stingrays are back in the ocean and the fish also seemed to disappear for a while, but now they are back. So this is all good news for us!”

Jessica From The Great White Shark Project

Therefore, if you are planning to head out to South Africa to volunteer with the great white sharks, then you don’t have to worry about the sharks hiding out from the orcas and not coming out to say hello! Of course, as they are independent animals, we cannot guarantee the sighting of the beasts, but with liver hungry orcas no longer in the equation, your chances of encountering those black as night eyes, as they swim towards you in the water, is much greater.

There are spaces available on the project still available for between August and September, and prime viewing time is during these months, so if you would like to take a closer look at volunteering in South Africa with this misunderstood species, then please view the project on our project page.


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