Great white sharks that prowled the waters around South Africa’s False Bay drew crowds of tourists who would flock to watch the beasts “leap” out of the sea as they hunt down seals.

But, the numbers of great white sharks have fallen sharply, with many becoming more concerned over how they died.

Several years ago, five of the underwater predators washed up with massive wounds on their sides. It was later found they had they livers ripped out.

It was suspected that two killer whales, known as Port and Starboard, had hunted down the sharks and ripped out their fatty livers.

The fatty livers are suspected to have been eaten by killer whales

Experts said the whales have grown a taste for the livers, which are rich in oil and fats – proving to be a valuable source of energy for the beasts.

Marian Nieuwoudt, a Cape Town environment official, said: “To our knowledge, the absence from False Bay would impact the ecosystem.

The sharks are considered some of the ocean's deadliest beasts (stock image)

“Great white sharks are top apex predators and we do not know how their absence from False Bay would impact the ecosystem.

“Neither do we know the causes for their disappearance. We remain hopeful that the great white will return to False Bay and will announce our first sighting when this happens.”

Over the past 11 years there were more sightings of the killer whales in False Bay.

It also emerged that it’s not just great whites that are disappearing from the waters and that other species are being attacked.

The sharks drew in huge numbers of tourists

Tamely Engelbrech, research manager at the shark safety program Shark Spotters, said: “Already we’ve seen changes in other shark species, such as the bronze whalers and seven gills who have become more prevalent at Seal Island.

“If it becomes a more long-term knock-on effect, it’s unpredictable what will happen.”

The number of sharks has falled in the past decade

The impact of the vanishing sharks has had a massive impact, not only on the wildlife but also the industry that was built up around them.

False Bay is well known as the so-called “great white shark” capital of the world and draws thousands of tourists.

Tourists would pay to get up close to the beasts in dive cages, although this has been halted due to dwindling numbers.