Great White Sharks … For Dinner

It was clearly the work of a serial killer. When dead great white sharks started washing up, missing their livers, scientists were stumped. The culprit? A creature that really lives up to its name: the killer whale.

In the waters around South Africa and California, orca whales are hunting down great white sharks, and tearing them apart for some gourmet paté. When a boat captain just off the coast of South Africa captured a hunt on camera, the footage was shocking, to say the least.

Experts say it’s probably been happening for a long time, out in the deep ocean. But they’re working to understand why whales closer to shore have started going after Jaws, and what it means for both of these epic – and majorly misunderstood – predators.

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Kate Morgan is a journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, SIERRA, Popular Science and many other publications. 

Alisa Schulman-Janiger is the co-founder and lead research biologist at the California Killer Whale Project and a research associate with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles.

Sara Andreotti is the COO at Shark Safe Barrier and a marine biologist at the University of Stellenbosch

Support These Great Organizations

The California Killer Whale Project’s mission is to continue the long-term study of the ecology, natural history and conservation of killer whales off the coast of California

The Shark Safe Barrier is a groundbreaking solution to protect sharks and humans

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Production Credits

This episode of the Roaring Earth podcast was written and produced by Kate Morgan and Susan Bard. Sound engineering and original music was provided by Joe Bussiere. Jan Renner and Glen Hoffman are the executive producers. The National Park Service recorded the killer whale echolocation sounds.