Most hunting practices today have been modernized to put humans at a serious competitive advantage. In some cultures, however, traditional practices live on that expose the hunter on a much more level playing field.

Take the sperm whale hunting by native Indonesians in Lamalera. Although it might seem cruel, hunting these non-endangered species is a traditional practice in the Pacific.

The Indonesian harpooners in a recent clip from BBC Human Planet show just how they put their lives on the line for the opportunity to bag a whale that could feed their community for months.

While leaping into the open sea with a 15 ton sperm whale, the harpooners stab the animal and tie it up to their boats. Eventually it succumbs. They end the hunt be severing the whale’s back bone, but not before one of the fishing boats gets swamped.

Watch for yourself the deadly action in the clip below: