Great white sharks have been getting killed by a killer whale pair off the coast of Gansbaai, which has forced them to leave the area. The nearby marine environment has been altered by these orcas’ desire for shark livers.
The number of sharks in the area has been declining for the previous five years, according to a scientific report published in the African Journal of Marine Science in 2022. Eight great white sharks were discovered washed up on coasts with injuries that suggested an orca attack in that time.
According to the research, sharks may use their ability to recognize when a large ocean predator is nearby to trigger mass emigrations.
Once a hotspot for this fabled shark species, Gansbaai, 100 km east of Cape Town, attracted tourists from all over the world who wanted to go shark cage diving.
The surrounding ocean environment is seeing effects from the decrease of sharks as apex predators that are unprecedented. Bronze whaler sharks have replaced them as the ecosystem’s new mid-ranking predators as a result of their disappearance. The two orcas, who are getting better at hunting bigger sharks, are also pursuing the bronze whaler sharks. Without great white sharks to control the population of cape fur seals, the seals could overconsume the seriously threatened African penguins.
This specific couple may be members of a rare shark-eating morphotype because their behavior is atypical for orcas. However, additional research is required to understand how sharks maintain the delicate ecological balance for all individuals in these coastal ecosystems due to falling numbers brought on by overfishing and changing sea surface temperatures.