Subject: Killer Whale/Great White Shark-On Tape: Killer Whale Kills Sh (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Sat, 11 Oct 1997 08:57:02 -0400 (EDT)

On Tape: Killer Whale Kills Shark

   SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Killer whales are kings of the sea -- and
now there's videotape to prove it.
   A clash between a killer whale and a great white shark last
weekend was captured on video. The taping, apparently the first
ever, has electrified researchers around the world.
   "Nothing like this has been known to happen before," said Mary
Jane Schramm, a naturalist who witnessed the attack.
   Before the encounter Saturday off the Farallon Islands, 20 miles
west of San Francisco, marine biologists assumed that killer whales
and great white sharks -- the ocean's two boss predators -- avoided
each other.
   Wildlife enthusiasts on a cruise sponsored by the Oceanic
Society received a radio transmission from a fisherman who'd seen
two orcas in the area. When the boat arrived, the two orcas -- a
20-foot-long female and a youngster about half her length -- were
swimming idly about.
   "Then we noticed this dark shape moving in the water, giving
the orcas a wide berth," Schramm said.
   Soon, the female orca veered toward the dark shape, and then
surged to the surface with a 10-foot-long great white shark in her
   "We were stunned," Schramm said.
   The whale eventually swam away from the boat and began thrashing
the shark on the surface of the water, a practice orcas typically
employ with their prey.
   About this time, Peter Pyle, a great white shark expert with the
Point Reyes Bird Observatory stationed on Southeast Farallon
Island, raced to the scene.
   With a special underwater camera, he got within five feet of the
orcas and began shooting the attack.
   "The female apparently killed the shark, but she didn't eat it
-- she was encouraging the calf to feed," Schramm said. "(The
calf) especially liked the liver. You know how hard it can be to
get kids to eat. Not him, though."