Blood on the waves
Sydney Morning Herald
9th July 2003
Photo: Kendall Hill
Whether it's just off Sydney or in an African game park, it's the same thing: after a death, the scavengers come to clean up.
A whale-watching vessel came across this sperm whale in the swell off Wanda Beach, near Cronulla, this week, while below a pack of sharks gorged on the carcass.
"Basically sharks are like the hyenas of the ocean," said vessel captain William Ford. "If they come across a dead whale, they'll take it on."
The 13-metre sperm whale is believed to have been an adult. Equipped with some of the most powerful jaws in the sea, the whale is unlikely to have been killed by the sharks. But if it was already ailing, the predators may have been waiting for its demise.
A shark behaviour specialist, Dr Kate Rodda from South Australia, said sharks were known to congregate at whale nursery sites, and to harass whales already in trouble