A marine biologist captured astonishing footage of a pod of killer whales off Costa Rica as they systematically hunted, killed, and feasted on an unlucky tiger shark.
Filmmaker Edwar Herreño filmed the showdown off the coast of Cocos Island National Park, 300km west of Costa Rica. In the video, a pod of six killer whales corners the tiger shark, which appears visibly agitated. The shark’s fin breaks the surface of the water as the whales surround it, preventing its escape.
The killer whales dwarf the tiger shark, which measures just 3 meters long. Despite its reputation as a fearsome predator, the shark is small in comparison to its adversaries. The orcas can be observed forcing the tiger shark upside down, a position that creates a state called tonic immobility. A form of temporary paralysis, it leaves the shark unresponsive to external stimuli. Eventually, the whales sink their teeth into the shark, sealing its fate.
— Peninsula Papagayo (@PenPapagayo) September 11, 2014
Killer whales have been known to feed on a variety of other animals, depending on what region they inhabit. In northern seas, around Alaska or Canada, salmon makes up the majority of their diet. In warmer waters, they have been observed eating rays and sharks, according to 9 News.
In addition to his work as a marine biologist, Herreño is also a photographer and filmmaker, io9 reports. His work has appeared on a variety of major networks including BBC, Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel, and others. He also works as a SCUBA instructor and a yacht captain.
Considered to be an apex predator in the ocean, killer whales are thought to pose a threat even to great white sharks due to their size and ferocity. As The Inquisitr has previously noted, they are known for their remarkable intelligence. Traveling in pods, killer whales have demonstrated an ability to hunt co-operatively.
Tiger sharks, while solitary hunters, are regarded as one of the most dangerous species of shark. Responsible for a disproportionate number of attacks on humans, they have the widest food spectrum of all sharks, preying on an astonishing variety of marine life. Considered a near-threatened species, tiger sharks are vulnerable not only to predation from killer whales, but also to over-fishing and finning at the hands of humans.
[Image via Twitter]