Killer whales suspects in Cape shark killings

26 June 2017 - 13:32 By Claire Keeton
File photo of a great white shark. South African National Parks marine biologist Alison Kock confirmed on Monday that a fourth shark was found dead at Pearly Beach with wounds suggesting orca predation.
File photo of a great white shark. South African National Parks marine biologist Alison Kock confirmed on Monday that a fourth shark was found dead at Pearly Beach with wounds suggesting orca predation.
Image: HENNIE OTTO/SHARKWATCH SA

Orcas are suspected of killing another huge white shark off the Western Cape‚ bringing the death toll to four in two months.

South African National Parks marine biologist Alison Kock confirmed on Monday that a fourth shark was found dead at Pearly Beach with wounds suggesting orca predation.

Pearly Beach is about 40km south-east of Gansbaai‚ where other dead white sharks were discovered with similar wounds.

Autopsies on them found their livers‚ nutritious and weighing as much as a person‚ had been removed with almost surgical precision.

Marine biologist Alison Towner‚ from Marine Dynamics‚ reportedly said the latest casualty was a 4.2 metre male.

Only about 10% of white sharks get longer than four metres‚ said white shark expert Chris Fallows.

White sharks mature and breed slowly so the loss of a rare big adult is a blow to this endangered species.

Fallows said losing a giant white shark could have a similar impact to losing a super tusker in the elephant population‚ whose numbers are also low.

He said orcas could be influencing the low number of white shark sightings in False Bay and Ganbaai this season.

In South Africa white sharks have been protected for more than 25 years.

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