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Mar 28

Seal eats sharks! Leaves marine scientists baffled!

Heroic seal eats sharks

Seal eats sharks? It’s true! Video footage captured off South Africa by professional diver Chris Fallows has challenged conventional wisdom that seals eat mostly only fish under a foot in length. The latest revelations has scientists scratching their heads and shows the hunting habits of a lone Cape fur seal as it preys on sharks.

African fur seal eats sharks

In a role reversal of predator vs prey a lone Cape fur seal preys on sharks

To say the heroic seal eats sharks is somewhat of an understatement. In a complete role reversal of predator versus prey behaviour, the seal attacks an entire school of ten blue sharks. Not once does the seal come to any harm.

During the course of the video, the seal kills up to five sharks, plucking them off one by one. It is seen eating only the stomach, liver and intestines. Fallows, who runs a service taking people to see sharks in their natural habitat, says he was amazed at the ease with which the seal managed to dispatch its victims.

This type of behaviour is considered to be extremely rare. Both blue sharks and Cape fur seals grow to roughly the same size. Both typically feed on much smaller prey. Blue sharks have been observed chasing, but never catching, juvenile fur seals.

South African fur seal eats sharks off Cape Town

A lone Cape fur seal eats sharks

However, apart from a brief sighting more than a decade ago, this latest footage is the first to show conclusive evidence of what can only be described as a role reversal between the two.

Marine researchers are at a loss to explain why the seal would take on such a high risk meal. While nobody knows exactly how often this sort of behaviour takes place, Hugues Benoit, a scientist with the Canadian DFO, is certain that it happens far more often than previously thought..

What we as an organization are thrilled to hear, especially coming from a scientific voice within the DFO, is the following vital piece of information which we quote from an article in New Scientist

“By chowing down on their competitors, seals could be altering ocean food webs in unexpected ways,” says Benoit, “especially with seal populations booming throughout the oceans. If seals help hold down shark populations, for example, that could have a net benefit on populations of smaller fish, even if the seals also eat the same fish themselves. If so, fisheries biologists may need to take that into account in managing fish populations.”

In simple terms? Seals do NOT destroy fish stocks. They help them thrive!

  • #Fisheries scientist from the DFO suggests seals help to improve fish stocks! #sealhunt