Drone pilot captures incredible footage of a whale pod hunting and killing a shark

Between rip tides, rogue waves, sting rays, and lampreys; there are plenty of reasons to fear the sea. For many people though, sharks are the most terrifying of all. Whether due to some innate aversion or pop culture’s tendency to malign the beasts, the very existence of sharks is enough to keep some humans out of the water — but rare drone footage shows these predatory fish have their own reasons to fear the deep.

A hunt recently took place off the coast of Sydney, Australia. Experts have identified the hunters as a pod of false killer whales, chasing after what appears to be a juvenile shark. Stunning aerial drone footage captured the pod intimidating, chasing, and exhausting their prey, until one of the whales dove down and ambushed the shark from below. The whale surfaces with the shark in its jaws before descending and – presumably – sharing its catch with the rest of the pod.

Humpback whales are a common sight in Sydney during winter months, as some 20,000 migrate south to their Antarctic feeding grounds — but false killer whales are far less common. With its aerial insight into the elusive species’ behavior, the rare drone footage has both marine biologists and the drone pilot excited. In an interview with 7 News Sydney, the pilot said he didn’t expect to capture the footage. He even gave a little taunt to National Geographic filmmakers who “wait months to get such a thing” on camera.

Sydney’s lucrative whale-watching season starts in just a few weeks, and tour operators have looked to drones to help them locate migrating pods. Watchers would be lucky to spot false killer whales or witness this kind of predatory behavior, but the footage has no doubt contributed to the excitement.

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