False killer whales filmed hunting a juvenile shark off the East coast of Australia
When the hunter becomes the hunted.. False killer whales filmed hunting a juvenile shark off the East coast of Australia.
Yesterday, off the coast of Sydney, Australia, a drone enthusiast captured some rare and remarkable footage of what marine experts believe are False Killer Whales (Pseudorca crassindens). What is so intriguing about the footage is the fact that they are hunting not just any type of fish, but a shark. The scene depicts a pod of approximately 4 False Killer whales, chasing this juvenile shark, when finally one of the larger pod members dives down below eye level of the shark and playfully rolls belly up while snatching the shark in its mouth and bringing it to the surface.
Not only is this footage of false killer whales rare and exciting, but may be one of the first ever recordings of this species preying on a shark. False killer whales are related to Orcas, commonly known as Killer Whales and prey on cephalopods (squid), large fish and even smaller dolphins, Humpback and Sperm whales.
Contrary to what their name implies, False killer whales and Killer whales are not whales, but larger members of the Dolphin family. You are most probably familiar with the Killer whales due to films such as ‘Free Willy’, or lately the documentary ‘Blackfish’. These species are highly intelligent and display complex social bonds. They are known to form pods up to 60 individuals and even form super-pods up to hundreds in size, however sadly, they are also known for their mass stranding’s.
With the current state of the world’s ocean and the fast depletion of its food stocks due to large scale commercial fishing, many of the false killer whales prey (e.g. tuna, mahi mahi and cephalopods) are becoming dangerously low, leaving a huge gap in their diet which will need to supplemented by something else. Could this explain why this pod of false killer whales were possibly chasing a shark? The question remains unclear, however with the winter months approaching, and the Humpback whales on their way, it is only expected that these species most commonly found miles offshore, will be hanging around to take advantage of any premature Humpback calves and sick adults.
With over 20,000 individual Humpback whales expected to pass the east coast of Australia this whale watching season, there will be plenty of food sources around for them. With the official start of the season set to kick off here on the Gold Coast in just a matter of weeks, come out and see what it’s all about on one of our 5 departures a day from the heart of Surfers Paradise with Whales in Paradise. The humpback highway (as it’s referred to) is just 2km off the Gold Coast! We have even found Humpback whales just a few hundred metres from the beach. And it’s not just Humpback whales we are on the look out for, but any whale or dolphin species, including the False Killer Whale. You may even be the lucky one who spots the famous white whale, Migaloo this season!
For your chance to witness one of life’s most incredible migrations, give one of our friendly reservation staff a call on +61 7 55382111, or visit our website here.