Orca kills great white shark: Video captures rarely seen event

An orca matriarch takes a great white shark under water to suffocate it. (National Geographic for Disney)

Video shows an orca bodyslamming and killing a great white shark. Scientists believe it is the first time a single orca has been captured on video doing so.

The female killer whale named Sophia is a 60-year-old grandmother whale and leader of a pod of six. The footage is part of a six-part series by National Geographic called Queens.

Video first shows Sophia swimming up to the shark and slamming into it before circling around for another pass.

The blow by the orca was so hard that it shattered the great white shark's ribs, according to the National Geographic series which is airing on Hulu and Disney Plus.

"I think what we’re seeing is probably an anomaly. I don’t think it happens that often," Dr. Chris Lowe told ABC News. "We often think of white sharks as being the top predator in the ocean when actually orca are."


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Orcas are the largest members of the dolphin family. They are apex predators with a diverse diet, eating fish, sharks, rays, deals, dolphins and even other whales.

In Washington and British Columbia waters, southern resident orcas are on the U.S. Endangered Species list.

Some orcas have been held in captivity, including Tokitae, who died just before she was set to be returned from the Miami Seaquarium to the Salish Sea