On February 24, the famous killer orca pair Port and Starboard killed 17 sevengill sharks. Port and Starboard are two male killer whales causing havoc in South Africa since 2015. Since the pair showed up in the area, great white sharks started to wash ashore at False Bay with only their livers missing. The two orcas have learned to tare the sharks with their pectoral fins to remove and devour the nutritious liver.
Port and Starboard Killing Spree
In 2017, the famous pair killed at least seven great white sharks, including a female called Khaleesi. The 16-foot-long shark washed ashore with a missing liver. In August 2019, five great white carcasses washed ashore with missing livers. They were believed to be the latest victims of Port and Starboard. By 2020, the great white shark population had fled the False Bay area entirely to avoid being eaten by the notorious pair.
In May 2022, Starboard was filmed with four other orcas as they attacked and killed a great white shark. This was the first time that a live killing by the orcas was recorded in the wild. After the attack, the great white population disappeared for almost two months, in fear of being the next prey.
On Friday, the pair was linked to at least 17 sevengill shark killings, all of which were females. Due to the storm in the area, the sharks washed ashore, but who knows how many more did not.
Will something be done to stop the famous killer orca pair Port and Starboard? Probably not. Dr. Alison Kock said “Once they know where the liver is, or any other body part they are specifically interested in, they will remember it forever & become more efficient.” The two killer whales have found it easier to get nutrition from killing sharks and eating their liver than hunting mammals like dolphins and seals. While they pose no threat to humans, they have left a mark on the False Bay community. Since the disappearance of the great white sharks in the area, the shark tourist attraction has dwindled.