January 2, 2012
New Zealand Beach Scene Of Orca-Shark Battle
A spectacular display of nature´s sometimes cruel cycle of life was witnessed by beachgoers at Blue Cliffs Beach in Tuatapere, New Zealand when orcas, also known as killer whales, forced a group of large sharks to swim into shallow waters or risk being eaten.
One shark desperate to escape from the enormous beasts even beached itself on the sand and was filmed desperately flapping around in a bid to escape the whales, which were unable to move onto the sand, reports Rick Dewbury for Daily Mail.
New Zealand marine scientist, Clinton Duffy, who works for the Department of Conservation, said the video documented a sophisticated hunting tactic used by the killer whales. “I´d be picking that there´d be several more killer whales in a staggered line out to sea from the beach. So that whale that you see in the surf zone there is probably in there flushing fish off shore for the other ones to catch,” reports NTDTV.com
Duffy said he´d never before seen sharks beaching themselves in this way but claimed he´d seen it before in other fish species, when swimming onto a beach is the only means of escaping a predator.
The feeding frenzy was captured on film by nearby resident David Evans who, after being told there were whales in the area, raced to the beach to record the spectacle. Evans claimed he had never seen a display of such aggression from the orcas.
Orcas feed on seals, sea lions, large fish and sharks - although it is rare to see such a aggressive display of hunting so close to the shore. However, the hunting tactics and prey species vary between different pods of orcas.
Jim Fyfe, a marine ranger at the Department of Conservation Otago office, said that sharks are ℠well within the range´ of orcas.