South Africa: Orcas are hunting great white shark
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Two orcas went on a killing spree, killing and tearing open 17 sharks in one day off the coast of South Africa. Marine conservationists named the killer whales Port and Starboard after they upended the food chain in the waters off Cape Town. The hunters that terrorise even the most fearsome sharks have now moved on to hunt dinosaur sharks after decimating the great white population.
According to researchers from the Marine Dynamics Academy, the hunters have torn open every single shark and extracted their liver – a highly nutritious organ rich in nutrients and oil.
Due to the liver’s abundance of squalene, a substance essential for the synthesis of hormones, experts think Port and Starboard are feasting on the organ.
Their modus operandi is forcing the sharks to the surface, flipping them over, and then biting into their stomachs to remove the buoyant and oil-rich liver, while leaving the other organs unharmed.
For generations, people have used shark’s liver oil as a folk treatment to help wounds heal faster and to treat digestive and respiratory issues. Further claims have been made that it can heal diseases like cancer, HIV, radiation sickness, swine flu, and the common cold in addition to its current promotion as a nutritional supplement.
It is more widely used as a component of some moisturising skin lotions and haemorrhoid medications.
According to the Canadian Shark Research Laboratory, a single liver can provide 200 to 400 gallons of this liquid.
Relentless fishing and hunting have raised concerns among shark experts who fear they are threatened with extinction.
A recent study found that as sharks and rays disappear, there will be cascading effects on other species with “growing ecological consequences for coral reefs, many of which will be hard or impossible to reverse”.
The study entitled “Half a century of rising extinction risk of coral reef sharks and rays” says the loss of nearly two-thirds of sharks and rays that inhabit coral reefs around the world might have catastrophic repercussions for ecosystems and coastal communities.
It added overfishing has been the driving contributor to the species’ declines over the past 50 years.
Conservationists have estimated that up to 100 million sharks are killed every year and there is a very real danger of what is known as a population collapse.
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Sharks are also threatened by longer-term problems such as habitat degradation and changes like coastal development, marine pollution, climate change, and the disappearance of reefs. These elements have adversely impacted their capacity for reproduction, hunting, and protecting their young.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says the three most endangered shark species are the oceanic whitetip shark, the scalloped hammerhead and the great hammerhead sharks, which are now classified as “critically endangered”.
An average of 100 million sharks are killed every year.
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