The rare sight of a group of offshore killer whales tearing a live shark apart has been captured on film by a drone.
Slater Moore was whale-watching when he spotted the two females and two calves in California’s Monterey Bay.
Curious to know what the whales were eating, Slater piloted the drone over them.
Katlyn Taylor, a marine biologist with Monterey Bay Whale Watch told The Verge: “All of a sudden one of them brought it up, brought up the whole shark – and it was still alive, it was squirming around.”
The footage shows the adult whales holding the sevengill shark in their mouths and letting it go so the calves can join in.
Alisa Schulman-Janiger, a researcher with the California Killer Whale Project told GrindTV: “It’s a very rare sighting, and an extraordinary observation.
“I do not think that anyone has drone footage of this prey-sharing, involving very small calves, in California.”
“Offshore killer whales are among the least observed and understood of all killer whale populations,” NOAA Fisheries says on its fact sheet on killer whales.
They tend to travel in groups ranging from 25-75, but pods as large as 200 have been spotted, the agency added.
“Little is know about the elusive offshore orcas, as they live far from land ― mainly over the outer continental shelf ― and are rarely encountered,” said Whale and Dolphin Conservation, a charity dedicated to protecting the mammals, on its website.