A drone pilot has captured rare footage of several killer whales ganging up on a single shark and devouring it while it was still alive.
Slater Moore was touring California’s Monterey Bay with the Monterey Bay Whale Watch (MBWW) on Tuesday, Dec. 13, when they came across two adult killer whales and two calves at sea. The sea creatures appeared to be busy eating something, so Moore decided to fly his drone to check and see what they were nibbling on.
Moore and his group discovered that the killer whales were eating a whole shark while the poor creature was very much alive.
Killer Whale Feeding On Sharks
MBWW marine biologist Katlyn Taylor said the killer whales could have been chomping on a sevengill shark, which is native to the waters of Monterey Bay and San Francisco Bay.
While the creature the group saw on the footage was just about five feet long, sevengill sharks are capable of growing up to 10 feet. Taylor said the one the killer whales were eating was a lot bigger than the calves they were with.
The type of whales Moore and his group spotted, on the other hand, were known as offshore killer whales. These creatures are not known to frequent protected inshore waters.
According to the MBWW, there is not much information available about offshore killer whales aside from their basic diets and social group size. They are difficult to spot at sea when they feed since they typically stay at deeper waters to hunt for fish, squids and sharks.
Offshore whale sharks are known to have a fondness for shark meat. Dead whales that get washed ashore often have pieces of shark meat in their stomachs. Their teeth are also worn off from biting and chewing the tough, sand-papery skin of sharks.
These killer whales are also not a regular fixture in Monterey Bay, only making appearances at the area every year or so. Scientists have yet to determine where these orcas prefer to stay most of the time, but there are theories that suggest they come from Alaskan and southern Californian waters.
Taylor explained that offshore killer whales are very difficult to study since they can hold their breath for long periods, swim very fast and travel too far away from the shore.
However, she said that it’s part of what makes it fun since people don’t really know what’s going to happen when they observe these creatures.
Moore’s drone footage of the killer whales feeding is a welcome boon to marine biologists because it allows them to see these rare animals in action at sea.
© 2016 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.