3 To Know: Great white sharks fear orcas, study shows

Marco Eagle
47. Washington     • State pet:  N/A     • State mammal(s):  Orca whale, Olympic marmot     • State bird:  Willow Goldfinch     • State fish and aquatic life:  Ostrea lurida, orca whale, steelhead trout     The orca was designated the official state mammal of Washington in 2005 at the urging of schoolchildren who wanted to raise awareness about the creature and help protect its habitat. Orcas migrate annually through Puget Sound and are a popular tourist attraction. Orcas are skilled and intelligent hunters -- they are also known as killer whales -- and can eat 500 pounds of food a day. There is even a horror film called “Orca”, about a male who seeks revenge for the killing of his mate.

1. Great white sharks fear orcas, study shows

The great white shark might not be the ocean’s top predator, after all.

In research published this week in Nature, scientists found white sharks not only fled from killer whales when they arrived at a marine sanctuary near San Francisco but cleared out until the next season.

Two great white sharks, Nova and Cabot, similar to the one pictured, pinged hours from each other on Monday in the Gulf of Mexico.

“When confronted by orcas, white sharks will immediately vacate their preferred hunting ground and will not return for up to a year, even though the orcas are only passing through,” said Salvador Jorgensen, senior research scientist at Monterey Bay Aquarium and lead author of the study.

Minutes after orcas appeared to feed on elephant seals, researchers said white sharks began swimming offshore or crowding together at other seal colonies farther along the coast.

Researchers compared data from electronic tracking tags on sharks and field observations of orca sightings. The predators don’t often encounter each other at the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, researchers said, because orcas only visit the area occasionally while white sharks usually gather for more than a month each fall.

2. Man dies from injuries from East Naples crash in March

A Naples man died Monday from injuries suffered in a March 22 crash in East Naples, according to Florida Highway Patrol.

Richard Curvin, 78 of Naples, was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital. Curvin died from his injuries on Monday — three and a half weeks after the crash, according to a news release sent Tuesday.

Troopers said Curvin was driving his 2013 Kia Rio west on Davis Boulevard at 9:10 a.m. approaching Lakewood Boulevard when he made an improper left turn directly in front of a 2011 Freightliner Cascadia, a heavy-duty truck.

The front of the truck struck the right side of Curvin’s car, the news release indicated.

The investigation remains open.

3. Girl dies, 7 hurt in crash on Alligator Alley

Authorities say a 9-year-old girl died and seven other people suffered injuries in a three-vehicle crash along Alligator Alley in South Florida.

Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Michal Kane tells news outlets that one vehicle rolled over in the crash, which happened around 3 a.m., Wednesday.

The Florida Highway Patrol says the 9-year-old girl was ejected from a vehicle. Authorities say the girl and a 17-year-old who suffered a serious head injury were flown to hospitals, where the child died.

An 18-year-old man also suffered serious injuries and was among six people taken by ambulances to hospitals.

Troopers are investigating the crash, which caused a 20-mile section of westbound Interstate 75 to close.