Marine biologists have recorded the first known footage of a great white shark attacking and killing a giant humpback whale. Drone video shot off the coast of South Africa captures the nearly 14-foot long great white shark hunting down the whale which was purportedly around 33ft long and sickly.
Ryan Johnson, who works as a marine biologist witnessed the slaughter and said the whole thing lasted almost an hour before the whale eventually died. He noted that the great white stalked the whale down before methodically attacking it. The shark first severed an artery on the whale’s tail draining it of blood and life before pulling it underwater to drown and feast on the blubber.
The great white shark has a name too. It’s Helen. She was actually tagged as part of a 2013 study led by Ryan Johnson and given the name. One wonders if the name Karen wouldn’t have been better suited.
‘Helen looked very informed about what she was doing, which made me curious about whether she was an experienced whale killer, was acting on instinct or on plain intelligence by detecting her prey was weak,’ Mr Johnson told a reporter from The Times.
Attacks Not Unheard Of But Very Rare
It is very rare for whales to be hunted and eaten by sharks. But it is known to occur often the other way round. Killer whales and other large whales often prey on sharks for food. This video footage showing an adult humpback being killed by a great white shark is the first of its kind. That said, in 2015 a baby immature humpback whale was eaten by a group of dusky sharks.
The enormous size difference between whales and sharks often acts as a deterrent. Sharks are the ocean’s major predator and will strike anything if it feels an opportunity.