Video Shows 60-Year-Old Grandmother Orca Kill Great White Shark


Rare video footage of a 60-year-old grandmother orca singlehandedly taking down a great white shark serves as an apt reminder of why the mammals are often referred to as “killer whales.”

The encounter was filmed for the new National Geographic limited series Queens, currently streaming on Hulu and Disney Plus. In the clip that surfaced online this week, the orca named “Sophia” can be seen heading straight for the soon-to-be deceased shark at full steam before making the fatal chomp. 

“This is Sophie, a master hunter,” narrates Angela Bassett in the clip. “Her aim is perfect. She takes the shark under, so everyone gets a piece. A matriarch will always feed the family.”

While orcas are known to occasionally hunt sharks, scientists believe the clip marks the first time a lone orca has been filmed killing a great white shark.

Dr. Chris Lowe, a marine biology professor and director of the Shark Lab, a biology unit of the California State University, Long Beach, told ABC News that orcas are not only very smart animals, but also very powerful ones. “In some cases, [orcas are] probably even more powerful than a white shark,” Lowe said.

“I think what we’re seeing is probably an anomaly,” Lowe explained. “We often think of white sharks as being the top predator in the ocean when actually orca are.”

To that point, the clip comes as orcas have been making headlines over the past year for attacking, and in some cases, disabling or sinking vessels, particularly in waters around the Iberian Coast. There have been many theories about why the mammals are behaving this way, from the attacks triggered by a single “traumatized” orca to social pod behavior or teaching juveniles to hunt.

“It probably does have something to do with behaviors and how they interact with these objects,” Lowe added, “which is very different from attacking and killing something that you’re going to get food out of.”

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