A great white shark was caught on camera strategically killing a 32ft humpback whale for the first time off the coast of South Africa.
The apex predator, named Helen, took down the whale in just 50 minutes. Its prey had reportedly become ill after it was trapped in a discarded fishing rope.
Drone footage of the kill just off Port Elizabeth in February reveals how Helen manages to open the whale’s main artery in the tail before drowning the beast.
The attack happens when the humpback whale is breaching water and Helen bites onto the side of its tail, opening a wound at its artery.
Helen then stays put for about 30 minutes while watching the sea turns red with blood before she attacks the whale’s head and gets the mammal’s blow hole down into the water.
Marine biologist Ryan Johnson watched the footage and told The Times that he suspected Helen is an “experienced whale killer”.
He explained: “There was no hesitation, it was as if she knew exactly how to go about it.
“Even though she was a fraction of his weight, she was attempting to roll him over, pulling him down to get his blow hole under the water, apparently in an effort to drown him.
“She managed to weigh him down under the water and he just didn’t come up again.
“Helen looked very informed about what she was doing, which made me curious about whether she was an experienced whale killer.”
Helen was tagged by Mr Johnson in a 2013 study and one of her regular hunting grounds has traditionally been False Bay in Cape Town but she has avoided it for the last two years.