A pod of killer whales have been filmed for the first time hunting and killing a tiger shark.
The footage, which is believed to be a world-first, was captured off the coast of Costa Rica by underwater photographer Caroline Power and British marine biologist Nicholas Bach.
It shows three killer whales working as a team to force the panicked shark to the surface, wearing it down and taking opportunistic bites at its fins.
Eventually, a large bull moves in to deliver the death blow while flipping the shark on to its back in the process – inducing a state of paralysis known as ‘tonic immobility’.
The pod then takes turns at eating and stripping the 7ft shark down to its bare bones before disappearing back into the ocean.
Caroline Power, 26, who filmed the footage from a dive boat, says: ‘I have been lucky enough to witness some amazing things in and on the ocean – but this was unbelievable. I believe this is the first time orcas hunting tiger sharks has been documented – we were all fairly awestruck.
‘After the orcas had left we all just kind of stood in the boat, staring at the ocean, contemplating what we had seen. The tiger shark is the top predator in those waters, so to see it knocked off the top of the food chain, to see it afraid, to see it fight for its life and lose was pretty incredible.’
According to local experts, the tiger shark population of Chatham Bay has grown in the last seven years with many coming to feast on newborn boobie birds which often land in the ocean on their first attempt at flying.
The orcas are seen every September but usually stay for just a few days. It is believed they only stayed in this area longer than usual because one of the females had just given birth.
And although killer whales have long been known to hunt sharks as part of their diet, it is extremely rare to capture them on camera hunting a top predator like the tiger shark.