The footage, courtesy of the Daily Beast, will air on Thursday night during Disovery’s Shark Week, promising viewers as thrilling conflict between killer whale and a great white. The video supports a theory among scientists that great white sharks have been in the process of fleeing their usual habitats because they’re being hunted by orcas.
In the clip, three orcas are seen swarming the great white in South Africa’s Mossel Bay, which historically has been a migration area for great whites but in recent years had seen them disappear. The nine-inch-long great white can be seen stuck between the jaws of the middle orca as they bob to the surface before a pool of blood forms in the water. The whale then begins to tear out the shark's liver with the help of the other two whales as they descend into the depths.
South African scientist Alison Towner has been studying the migration patterns of great white sharks for 15 years and recently published a paper in the African Journal of Marine Science detailing orcas as shark-hunting predators.
“It’s probably one of the most beautiful pieces of natural history ever filmed,” Towner told the Daily Beast. “I really do think once that footage airs, it’s going to go viral. The whole world is going to go into a frenzy about it because it’s just so unique.”
“We’ve had all the evidence for killer whales being responsible for killing white sharks,” Towner added, noting that shark corpses have appeared on beaches with missing livers. “But this is the world’s first drone footage of killer whales predating on a white shark. It’s the first time in South Africa it’s ever been documented as direct evidence.”
The footage, which you can view here, will debut on Thursday on the Discovery and Discovery + program Shark House.