A Rare Video Finds Orcas Hunting and Killing a Tiger Shark

by Chris Dixon

Photo: Robert Pittman, NOAA

Photo: Robert Pittman, NOAA

In these modern times, people are generally considered the greatest threat to sharks, but in this remarkable video captured off Costa Rica by photograher Caroline Power and British biologist Nicholas Bach, a good sized Tiger shark becomes the hapless victim of a small pod of Orcas, aka Killer Whales. Orcas are, of course, fearsome hunters, and they have few qualms about toying with and attacking fellow cetaceans, or even Great Whites. This appears to be first video though, with a Tiger Shark victim.

The Orcas appear to be using a technique of flipping over the shark to induce ‘tonic immobility,’ a paralyzed state brought on when some sharks are flipped upside down. Do the whales eat the comparatively tiny shark when they’re finished, or like wild poachers, do they simply ‘fin’ the creature, and let it sink to the bottom? The video isn’t clear on this. It is, however, fascinating.

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