Killer whales scare great white sharks: battle of mammals

Killer whales in the ocean scare great white sharks

Great white sharks are no longer the most formidable marine life. They conceded the palm with that status to orcas. A last conducted year study found confirmation that today the orcas are the most dangerous and terrible inhabitants of the underwater depths. A team of marine scientists have found that in areas where the orcas are present, great white sharks are extremely rare.

A marine ecologist Salvador Jorgensen of the Monterey Bay Science Center believes that when faced with the orcas, great white sharks quickly leave their habitable territories and do not return to them for at least a year.

The scientists analyzed data on the strange behavior of sharks from two sources. Shark GPS sensors and observations from 2006 to 2013, as well as population numbers of great white sharks, orcas and seals collected by an environmental organization off the coast of San Francisco, helped. The scientists also recorded encounters between great white sharks and orcas at the Great Farallon National Marine Reserve, which they could then analyze with other data.

As soon as orcas appeared in the region, sharks immediately disappeared and returned to the reserve only in a year. According to the marine biologist Scott Anderson, up to 40 cases of orcas attacks on great white sharks are recorded annually. Before the appearance of orcas, sharks feel at ease.

Some time ago, at the very beginning of observations, sharks simply tried to avoid orcas, staying at a safe distance from them. But then their behavior changed. It is worth noting that great white sharks have always been fearsome.

They are large, active and vicious predators, the length of which is up to 5.5 meters. But at the same time they become a prey of orcas. Strangely, orcas do not devour their prey. Dozens of remains of white sharks are thrown ashore by waves, and one can observe only serious wounds on the shark's body, which orcas inflict on them.

The so-called lateral interactions between predators are fairly well known on land, but much more difficult to capture in the ocean. And since it happens very rarely, it can take scientists a long time to fully understand the dynamics of what is happening.