Scientists Keep Finding Great White Sharks With Liver, Stomach and Testes Surgically Removed

Scientists in South Africa are stumped as to why deceased great white sharks keep washing up on beaches with certain organs precisely removed.

Credit: Marine Dynamics

Scientists are stumped by a reoccurring phenomenon in South Africa. Reportedly, several deceased great white sharks have been found along a stretch of coastline with their livers, stomachs, and testes precisely removed. Two of them were also missing their hearts.

At first, one might be tempted to suspect that poachers are behind the odd occurrence. Marine conservationists, however, are now pointing fingers at orcas. After a fourth great white shark showed up without a liver, an autopsy was carried out by the Dyer Island Conservation Trust team. White Shark biologist Alison Towner led the autopsy.

According to a Facebook post by Marine Dynamics, the carcass of the male great white shark was found on June 24 in a relatively fresh state of decomposition. It was determined that he died by bleeding out after his liver, stomach, and testes were ripped out. 4.1 meters (13.5 feet) in length, it is the third-largest of the four murder victims that have appeared. The largest was a 4.9-meter (16 foot) female shark — the largest to ever be dissected in South Africa.

A few factors have led marine conservationists to suspect that orcas are the culprits behind the attacks. One of the most notable is the fact that orcas were spotted actively patrolling the crime scene before fleeing.  The Facebook post reads:

“The pair of orcas believed to be responsible were sighted offshore of Danger Point then again in Franskraal today. Marine Dynamics cage diving boat tracked the pair. Subsequently, all cage diving boats failed to see white sharks today and it is believed the sharks may have fled the area once again.”

The Dyer Island Conservation Trust team was called out again this morning after another deceased shark washed ashore….

Posted by Marine Dynamics on Saturday, June 24, 2017

The finding is quite mysterious, as scientists still don’t know why orcas would begin killing great white sharks — especially for just a few organs. Some hypothesize that orcas innately know that some organs provide more energy than the rest of the flesh, therefore, are feasting on a select few great white shark organs. However, the task of killing a great white shark requires a lot of energy, which is why this thought may be invalid. Regardless, the murderous pattern has been taking place since May and shows no sign of slowing. With time, all answers will be revealed.

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