Great White Sharks Flee Neptune Islands After Killer Whales Attack

Great white sharks are fleeing the region around the Neptune Islands, according to tour operators, just days after a group of killer whales were spotted cornering and killing one of their kind.

Cage divers were stunned last week to observe a family pod of killer whales harassing a great white, before bringing the unfortunate shark to its end, as the Inquisitr previously reported. Crew member and marine biologist Gina Dickinson noted that the whales’ movements were clearly orchestrated, as the group taught its youngest members how to hunt the white shark.

“They were teaching the young, rounding it up in order to attack,” she said. “The intelligence behind it was just fantastic.”

The great white’s death now looks to have driven the rest of the local population out of the region, according to cage diving operator Matt Waller. He observed that similar events in other areas had resulted in white sharks fleeing for three to eight weeks, depending on the region. For the first time since April of last year, cage diving expeditions have reported no white sharks to be seen, according to the ABC.

“We had a trip on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and again today, and unfortunately, no great whites were seen,” he said. “That’s not to say they’re not out there. They’ve just gone somewhere else.”

It is not just the tour operators that are feeling the pressure from the white sharks’ disappearance, Waller noted, but also restaurants, bus operators, catering and accommodations staff. Waller’s company has asked customers to delay their trips, in hopes that the great whites will return in short order. Complicating matters is the fact that three research buoys, able to locate the sharks using acoustic tags, failed on January 26.

The first recorded attack on a white shark by a killer whale was observed by researchers in the Farallon Islands, off California, in 1997. As the Guardian Liberty Voice points out, scientists reported no white sharks nearby following the assault. In 2009, a “depredation event” enacted on a great white by a killer whale resulted in the remaining sharks leaving the region earlier than expected, as if bullied out of the area. Lower than average numbers of shark predations have also been thought to be connected to the presence of killer whales.

Waller noted that his company was working frantically with the State Department for the Environment in order to gain access to sites further afield, where the great white sharks may yet linger.

[Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]