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White shark in first recorded fatal whale attack

Listen to this article This is the first time a fatal attack by a white shark on a whale has ever been reported. A female great white shark attacked a swimming humpback whale, and the entire incident was accidentally caught on film. This is a completely unknown situation, showing that the world of wild animals
Published: July 18, 2020 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 20:22
White shark in first recorded fatal whale attack
Listen to this article

This is the first time a fatal attack by a white shark on a whale has ever been reported. A female great white shark attacked a swimming humpback whale, and the entire incident was accidentally caught on film. This is a completely unknown situation, showing that the world of wild animals still holds many secrets.

The drone footage was captured in South Africa. It shows a nearly 4-metre long white shark, named Helen, attacking and killing a whale that is over 10 metres long. Information released alongside the video shows that the humpback whale was in poor condition and most likely something was wrong with it.

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Marine biologist Ryan Johnson, who recorded the entire incident, said that the entire situation lasted about 50 minutes before Helen killed the whale. He added that the shark attack was carried out extremely methodically, with the predator focusing on strategically important points.

White shark in first recorded fatal whale attack First, the shark attacked an extremely vulnerable spot on the tail, where it severed the whale’s artery, and then began dragging the profusely bleeding humpback whale underwater, where it eventually drowned it. According to Johnson, it is no coincidence that the shark attacked with great skill in exactly this way and in key locations.

“We’re talking about one of the biggest predators on the planet attacking and killing a representative of one of the biggest species that exists. It’s just fascinating that we live on a planet that can still surprise us with something so unusual,” – said Johnson

This method of killing whales has never before been observed in white sharks, which know full well that such an attack exposes them to a tail slap that, in the case of an adult humpback, could prove fatal.

This is another situation where ocean researchers have been able to record unusual and previously unknown behaviour of sea creatures, thanks to the use of drones. Not only do these small devices make it possible to record video footage of great quality, but they also allow us to accompany and observe many animals that are unaware of their presence or do not treat them as a threat and behave completely naturally.

The great white shark responsible for the attack is a female named Helen, well known to researchers, who was tagged with a special transmitter several years ago and has since become the most popular shark in the scientific world and among internet users.

Source: Daily Mail
Photo: National Geographic/Earth Touch

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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