03 Julio 2017 16:43
Are the world's two greatest predators waging war on each other?
There seems to be a turf war being waged in the oceans of the world: a bloody battle for supremacy between killer whales and great white sharks.
Just over a month ago we published a story about how killer whales appeared to be hunting great whites with the express purpose of eating their livers. This organ is high in squalene: a nutrient that killer whales need to survive. According to the biologists in charge of conducting autopsies on the three dead sharks that washed up on the South African coast, the killer whales extracted the sharks' livers with 'surgical precision' before discarding the rest.
Until recently, cases of killer whales eating great whites could have been counted on the fingers of one hand. But last weekend, South African authorities made contact with the Dyer Island conservation programme to inform them that another great white had washed up dead on a beach. This 4.1-metre individual is the fourth so far this month. But this time the killer whales had obviously decided to expand the menu: as well as consuming the shark's liver, they also ate its stomach and testicles.
Marine biologist Alison Kock admitted that 'it's difficult to say for sure if attacks of this nature have occurred in the past. It's possible that these parts were eaten simply to enable the killer whales to reach the liver, as all the organs are connected inside the shark.'
Maybe I've seen too many gangster films, but this business of eating your enemy's liver and testicles all sounds a little bit 'Colombian necktie'. Just saying...