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Three orcas at surface © Christopher Swann/WDC

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Are orcas behind a drop in great white shark numbers?

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A drop in the numbers of great white sharks in the coastal waters around South Africa could be due attacks by orcas according to a new government report.

The report suggests that the orcas are killing sharks and eating their livers, which has led to the disappearance of great whites from the waters of False Bay, off of the coast of Cape Town.

Around seven great white shark carcasses have washed ashore in False Bay since 2017 showing teeth markings that government experts think may indicate attack by orcas.

Previously, experts have thought illegal hunting, over fishing, pollution and climate change could all be reasons for the fall in shark numbers, but the latest report links the decline with increased orca presence in the area, which may also drive sharks away from normal feeding ground for up to a year.

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