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60 Year Orca Grandmother Named Sofia Kills Great White Shark in Rare Video Capture

Sofia the 60-year-old orca
Sofia. Source: YouTube, Channel: National Geographic

In an astonishing display of marine might, a 60-year-old orca, affectionately known as Sophia, has been captured on camera taking down a great white shark off the coast of South Africa. This rare footage has left scientists and wildlife enthusiasts alike in awe, showcasing the exceptional predatory skills of orcas.

Sofia, the Grandmother Orca

Sophia, the matriarch orca, is estimated to be around 60 years old, making her a grandmother in orca years. Her impressive age and hunting prowess have earned her a special place in the hearts of scientists and researchers.

Sofia the granny orca
Sofia the granny orca. Source: YouTube, Channel: National Geographic

The Shark Tried Escaping

Great white shark
The great white tries escaping. Source: YouTube, Channel: National Geographic

Despite the shark’s efforts to escape, Sophia kept circling the shark ramming it again and again finally delivering a fatal blow that killed the shark. It seems, the large great white was no match for granny orca who treated the shark like a punching bag.

The Attack

Orca charges shark
Sofia charges the shark. Source: YouTube, Channel: National Geographic

The incident, which was filmed as part of National Geographic’s limited series “Queens,” shows Sophia charging at the shark with lightning speed, taking a chunk out of its body.

Orcas: The Apex Predators

killer whale Sofia
Sofia continues to attack. Source: YouTube, Channel: National Geographic

Contrary to popular belief, orcas are the top predators in the ocean, not great white sharks. They are highly intelligent, social, and powerful animals and they love hunting sharks

Orcas can grow up to 30 feet in length and weigh six tons.

Orca and shark
Sofia thrashes the Shark like a toy. Source: YouTube, Channel: National Geographic

Orcas, unlike their captive counterparts can grow up to an astonishing size. Some large specimens like Sofia can grow up to thirty feet in length and weigh six tons.

They are Social Butterflies

Orca circling shark
Sofia keeps circling the great white. Source: YouTube, Channel: National Geographic

Orcas are highly social creatures that live in large family groups called pods. These pods are often made up of multiple generations of orcas and are led by a dominant female.

Speed Demons

Orc attacking shrk
Sofia attacks the shark several times. Source: YouTube, Channel: National Geographic

Orcas are incredibly fast swimmers, reaching speeds of up to 35 miles per hour (56 kilometers per hour). They are also highly agile and can make sharp turns and quick changes in direction.

They Have a Unique Dialects

orca kills shark
The final charge. Source: YouTube, Channel: National Geographic

 Orcas have their own unique dialects and languages, which are specific to their pod and region. They use a variety of clicks, whistles, and pulses to communicate with each other.

Long Lifespan

Shark killed by orca
The shark has no chance. Source: YouTube, Channel” National Geographic

In the wild, orcas can live for up to 50-80 years, making them one of the longest-living mammals on Earth. In captivity, with proper care and nutrition, they can live into their 90s.

Sharks Avoid Orcas

Grandmother orca
Sofia kills the great white. Source: YouTube, Channel: National Geographic

Shark avoidance behavior: Some shark species, like great whites, have been observed exhibiting avoidance behavior when orcas are present. They will often leave the area or avoid swimming in areas where orcas have been spotted.

Orcas Play with Shark Carcasses

Orca plays with shark carcass
Orca with a shark carcass. Source: YouTube, Channel: BigSci

In some instances, orcas have been observed playing with the carcasses of sharks they have killed. This behavior is thought to be a form of practice or training for younger orcas, helping them develop hunting skills and learn how to manipulate prey.

Orcas Love Shark Liver

Orca hunts shark
Orcas like shark liver. Source: YouTube, Channel: National Geographic

Orcas have a peculiar fondness for shark livers, which are rich in fats and oils. This unique preference has been observed in several instances, with orcas extracting the liver with near-surgical precision.

Port and Starboard: The Dynamic Duo

Port and Starboard, orca duo
Port and Starboard, the serial shark killers. Source: YouTube, Channel: BigSci

Two male orcas, Port and Starboard, have been known to hunt together in the waters near Cape Town, South Africa. They have been observed harvesting livers from sevengill and great white sharks since 2015.

The Impact on Ecosystems

Shark killers
Port and Starboard on a killing spree. Source: YouTube, Channel: BigSci

The decline or displacement of great white sharks due to orca attacks has had a significant impact on local ecosystems. In some areas, the absence of great white sharks has led to an increase in competition among Cape fur seals and critically endangered African penguins for small pelagic fish.

Expert Insights

orca killer whale
Orcas breaching the water. Robert Pittman, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Marine biologists feel such behavior is probably an anomaly and may be linked to climate change. Orcas are highly intelligent and powerful animals that can adapt to their environment.

The First Time on Camera

Orca attack
A rare video capture. Source: YouTube, Channel: National Geographic

This incident marks the first time a single orca has been captured on camera killing a great white shark. Previous footage has shown orcas attacking sharks in coordinated groups, but this solo hunt is a rare and remarkable sight.

An Inspiring Testament to The Power of The Orca

Sofia the 60-year-old orca
Sofia. Source: YouTube, Channel: National Geographic

The battle between Sophia the orca and the great white shark is a testament to the awe-inspiring power and intelligence of marine life. As we continue to learn more about these incredible animals, we are reminded of our responsibility to protect and preserve our oceans for generations to come.

Watch the Video Here

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