Graphic Video Shows Great Whites Eating Whale Carcass in Australian Port

A graphic video taken by those at the South Australian Museum showed multiple great white sharks feeding on the carcass of a humpback whale in an Australian port. Officials said they don't yet know what to do with the carcass, but are warning locals to stay out of the water.

ABC Australia reported Monday the carcass had been spotted in Outer Harbor, Adelaide's main shipping port. A source from South Australia's National Parks and Wildlife Service, Jon Emmett, told the outlet that officials tried to remove the carcass from the water; however, it was in a difficult position, and two great white sharks were in the process of feasting on it as they tried to remove it.

ABC Adelaide shared a graphic video from the scene to its Twitter account on Monday. The video, which has over 7,000 views, was taken by those with the South Australian Museum.

The carcass reportedly disappeared Monday, then resurfaced off the northern end of an island between Outer Harbor and St. Kilda later Tuesday morning. Emmett believed the whale was struck and killed by a large ship, which, he said, isn't an uncommon occurrence.

"If you see a big container ship—a big international ship these days—they have a big bulbous part to the bow of the ship," he told ABC Australia.

"If that strikes a whale, sometimes the whale's body can actually get carried on top of the bulbous part of the bow for hundreds or thousands of kilometers, so we don't know where this happened."

Sadly, tragedy has followed humpback whales near Australia for centuries.

At one point in time, whaling was a primary industry for Australia. However, as technology evolved to make whaling more "efficient," whales became "overly-exploited," leading to the near-extinction of many whale species.

As the numbers of certain species dwindled, humpback whales became a primary target for whalers. In 1963, the humpback whale population had been so significantly reduced that the International Whaling Commission banned humpback whaling in the Southern Hemisphere.

Thanks to other protection and conservation laws, Australia's humpback whale population has made a healthy recovery. But, humpback whales still face many threats.

The government reported the species are often struck by large ships and said pollution, climate change and scientific whaling can also negatively impact the population. Additionally, calves are at risk of being attacked by killer whales or sharks.

While humpback whales have been heavily sought after and discussed for decades, scientists know very little about them. With that in mind, Emmett told ABC Australia officials are still deciding if the carcass found Sunday should be taken out to sea, or if it should be used for research.

As experts debate what to do with the whale, they have warned locals not to swim in the water, for the carcass is likely to attract more sharks, 9 News reported.

great white shark fin
Officials at South Australia's National Parks and Wildlife Service said a humpback whale carcass that was videoed being consumed by sharks said the whale likely died from being hit by a ship. Stock image of a great white shark fin above the water. USO/iStock