Researchers say 11 sharks washed up on a beach in South Africa, leaving their bodies mostly intact but stripped of their livers.
These are some, but not all, of the recent kills carried out by pairs of killer whales known for their prolific hunting and special predilection for certain organs.
Port and starboard — male killer whale The Marine Dynamics Academy is named for its folded dorsal fin, in a February 23 Facebook post.
Researchers aboard a Marine Dynamics ship tracking killer whales witnessed the duo kill 17 sharks in a matter of hours in waters near the coastal town of Gansbaai.
Ralph Watson of Marine Dynamics said: “We observed two killer whales repeatedly diving into a small area for almost two hours before setting off offshore.
A few days later, they found the carcasses of herring sharks littering Purley Beach, with the flesh missing where the livers were.
Allison Towner, a researcher at Rhodes University who works with Marine Dynamics, said: Towner added that the sharks were all female and had suffered similar injuries to other sharks previously killed by Port and Starboard.
killer whales are considered smart Their hunting techniques show it well by using teamwork and strategy to bring down bigger or more animals. Port and starboard are no exception.
even the symbolic Great white shark is prey to a pair. A 2021 study led by Towner found that white shark populations have declined in the waters near Gansbaai as they fled to safer ecosystems.
“Predator-prey interactions between great white sharks, other coastal sharks and killer whales are increasing in South Africa and are expected to have significant impacts on ecosystems,” the study said. I’m here.
But even in the light of Port and Starboard’s history, this latest hunt stands out for its relentlessness, researchers say.
“This is the largest number of sharks these killer whales have killed in the area at one time,” Towner said.
Researchers don’t know why killer whales killed so many sharks. Or why were they particularly interested in eating the liver, even though the organ is so nutritious?
” shark liver Rich in nutrients and oils, it is a major part of a shark’s anatomy. It makes sense for killer whales to eat this organ,” University of British Columbia researcher Josh McInnes told CBC News in 2022.
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