Great White Shark Filmed Devouring Seal Off Cape Cod

Researchers working off Cape Cod managed to catch stunning footage of one of the region’s itinerant great white sharks this week, recording the predator as it swam by their boat while clutching the remains of a seal in its mouth.

The video was captured by Massachusetts state biologist Greg Skomal on Monday in the course of his work with the non-profit Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. During the summer months, the group sets out twice weekly to conduct a population study of the area’s white sharks. Now in its third year, their work was featured prominently by Discovery during this year’s Shark Week event. Last year, they successfully documented more than 140 of the animals residing off the cape.

During their voyage on Monday, the research team observed a predation event off the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge in Chatham, as the Boston Globe notes. Rarely seen by the team last summer, this type of event has been witnessed far more this year, with no fewer than two such occurrences taking place in the season’s initial weeks. This time, the white shark in question turned toward the conservancy’s research vessel after striking, prompting Dr. Skomal to plunge a GoPro into the water in an effort to record the animal.

Skomal’s efforts paid off handsomely, as the camera revealed the white shark approaching the vessel while carrying the remains of its unfortunate prey in its mouth. As the animal nears the apex of its approach, it shakes its head from side to side, opening and closing its maw to tear off a chunk of the seal’s carcass. The predator is seen in a stunning profile before turning once again, carrying its prey away from the researchers to devour it in private.

“Dr. Skomal has captured footage of a white shark ‘rag dolling’ a seal above the [ocean’s] surface, but this is the first [time] underwater.”

Although dramatic in its presentation, the video is only a small part of what looks to be a landmark season for the conservancy. More predation events have been witnessed this season than the last, and spotter pilot Wayne Davis has already captured a number of striking images of the cape’s white sharks, including one of a life-and-death chase between a shark and seal. Dr. Skomal has already tagged 10 different sharks (as of August 4), and just over a week ago, several of the animals were observed feeding on a whale carcass in Cape Cod Bay, as NECN notes.

The conservancy’s work has also led to the debut this summer of Sharktivity, a smartphone app developed by the group in partnership with several local businesses. The app allows users to access a database of shark sightings from around the cape and upload their own experiences and photographs. These reports are vetted by several experts before being released to the public, and safeguards are in place to prevent hoaxes.

Sharktivity has already been credited with safeguarding at least one family, as the Inquisitr previously reported, when they were alerted to the nearby presence of a white shark thanks to a sighting that had been reported just 20 minutes earlier. They were able to watch the shark swim by their vessel in safety just moments after the conservancy’s spotter plane and research vessel arrived on the scene, hot on the white shark’s tail.

The conservancy identified the shark in Monday’s video as “Mrs. Krabs,” an 11-foot-long female first documented last year. In an enthusiastic Facebook post, they noted that Dr. Skomal’s footage of the great white shark could be best described in a single word: “Bada**!”

[Image via Elias Levy | Own Work | Flickr | Cropped and Resized | CC BY 2.0]