First the Study! Now the Movie! Great Whites Run Away!

The video just shows great white and orca fins breaking the surface, but it reinforces findings published in mid-2019 that great white sharks run away when killer whales show up. A link worth reading and viewing!

Killer Whales (Orcinus orca)
Killer Whales (Orcinus orca). Just not the ones in the video. 

GREAT WHITE SHARKS AREN’T SO TOUGH, RESEARCHERS REPORTED LAST SPRING. It turns out that they have apex predators of their own in orcas, or killer whales.

“When confronted by orcas, white sharks will immediately vacate their preferred hunting ground and will not return for up to a year, even though the orcas are only passing through,” said Dr. Salvador Jorgensen, senior research scientist at Monterrey Bay Aquarium.


Now, video has captured orcas in hot pursuit of great whites off the coast of South Africa. Fins. First you see great white shark fins cutting through the surface of the water, then notice killer whale fins coming along behind them. Okay. It’s all shot from the surface.

An article published by the Australian science magazine ScienceAlert carries features the video, shot by shark conservationist Elton Polly and uploaded to Facebook by the conservation organization Oceans Research.

The ScienceAlert alert has additional juicy facts, such as that orcas like chomping on great whites because they have juicy fat livers due to their preferred diet of seals.


It’s possibly just a coincidence, or killer whales playing, ScienceAlert reporter Michelle Starr notes. But the study by Monterrey Bay Aquarium scientists, reported in Poseidon’s Web in April, of feeding patterns in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary off San Francisco suggests a consistent phenomenon.

“On average we document around 40 elephant seal predation events by white sharks at Southeast Farallon Island each season,” Dr. Jorgenson said. “After orcas show up, we don’t see a single shark and there are no more kills.”

PRINCIPAL SOURCES: Incredible Footage Reveals Orcas Chasing Off The Ocean’s Most Terrifying Predator, ScienceAlert; Study Finds White Sharks Flee Feeding Areas When Orcas Present, Monterrey Bay Aquarium News Office; Killer whale presence leads to white shark desertion of Farallon Island feeding grounds, Point Blue Conservation Science; The Predator That Makes Great White Sharks Flee in Fear, The Atlantic; When Killer Whales Show Up, Great Whites Run Away, Poseidon’s Web.