Rare Drone Footage Shows Whales Taking Down a Shark

Rare Drone Footage Shows Whales Taking Down a Shark

Amateurs are scoring insane shots that naturalists once had to wait decades for.
May 11, 2016, 4:22pm

We like to think of sharks as being at the top of the underwater food chain, happily terrorizing the ocean's fish, sea lions, and other marine mammals while remaining free from harm themselves. But sometimes the tables turn and the shark becomes the prey. This insane drone footage shows a pod of what is believed to be false killer whales hunting a juvenile shark outside of Sydney, Australia.

As their name implies, false killer whales share some characteristics, like their general appearance, with the more widely recognized killer whale. But the two species do not belong to the same genus. The more mysterious false killer whale, or Pseudorca crassidens, is believed to feed on other cetaceans, but it seems like they're not opposed to snacking on a shark from time to time.

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Found throughout temperate and tropical waters across the globe, the species has not been extensively studied, outside of a small population in Hawaii. Unlike humpback whales, false killer whales aren't spotted off Sydney's shores very often.

It's not clear what species the unlucky shark was because the drone filmed the video high above the ocean's surface.

The footage is a prime example of how drones are changing the way people whale watch. Increasingly, amateurs are scoring insane shots that naturalists once had to wait decades for.

The hobbyist who captured the footage told 7 News Sydney, "National Geographic guys have been waiting months to get such a thing and we just happened to be there at the right moment at the right time."

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that filming a species using a drone isn't as noninvasive as it might seem. A foreign and loud object overhead can stress out an animal, and biologists have not yet extensively studied how the aircraft can impact wildlife behavior.