Here on land we have our favorite celebrities and famous icons. The ocean has a few celebrities as well, one being a several thousand-pound humpback whale named Migaloo. This whale is unlike his brethren. Migaloo is an all-white humpback whale, and many people treat him like a celebrity. Migaloo is one among several white creatures who call the ocean home. Sighting these beauties is a rare and special occurrence.
Albinism in ocean creatures is as rare as it is in any other species. As soon as one is spotted researchers spring into their boats to catch a sighting. These elusive whites come in all shapes and sizes. One of the smaller species being bottlenose dolphins.
In 2015, a white dolphin surprised researchers in Florida. Danielle Carter filmed the white bottlenose of the Florida coast (Waymer). Florida officials were both excited and concerned. They wanted to share the rarity but did not want to put the animal’s safety in jeopardy. The location of the video was not released to protect the dolphin. According to the article “Rare albino dolphin seen off Florida Coast” this dolphin was one of only fifteen albino bottlenose sightings. These are beautiful animals and they must be protected so that generations to come may still appreciate them.
Researchers in Russia agree that these creatures must be treated with respect along with their habitat. A group embarked on a trip to follow reports of a white orca. They found Iceberg. He is the first white orca sighted, but is not the only one. Two others were sighted in the area, possibly Icebergs’ two children. An article on Huff Post explains that sighting a grown, white orca like Iceberg is rare because albinos never reach adult hood. They are prey to various predator’s dues to their lack of camouflage. Iceberg has beaten the odds and is a healthy mature adult with a dorsal fin measuring over six feet (Huff Post). The mature Iceberg is an amazing sight, but he does have some competition for fame.
In the land down under there is a creature larger than Iceberg who also shares his albinism. Migaloo was first sighted off Bryon Bay in Queensland in the year 1991. An image was captured of the whale but was too blurry to determine the identity. Two years later it was determined that the humpback was in fact white after a better picture was captured. Scientists hesitated to call the whale an albino because the eyes are brown. After a DNA test it was determined that Migaloo was albino despite the lack of red eyes (Pacific Whale Foundation). The most common place to spot the whale is in Australia. Just a few months ago Australians along the Gold Coast had the opportunity to spot Migaloo. The whale makes his way south to Antarctica each year as he migrates (McKeith). Australian whale watchers wait anxiously for his visits.
Albino creatures are the celebrities of the ocean and they are a great example of why we need healthy oceans. If we want future generations to be able to appreciate beauties like the albinos, we must act now. Each and every one of us can do our part to help keep the ocean extraordinary. It is a simple as participating in beach clean ups or reducing plastic usage. A healthy ocean will give life to healthy and happy creatures including rare beings like white whales and dolphins
By, Heather Weller, Plea for the Sea
McKeith, Sam. “Migaloo The 'White Giant' Whale Makes A Splash On The Gold Coast.” Huffington Post AU. 17 Sept. 2017. Web. 3 Nov. 2017.
“Migaloo the white humpback whale of Australia.” Pacific Whale Foundation. Web. 3 Nov. 2017.
Waymer, Jim. “Rare albino dolphin seen off Florida Coast.” USA Today. 3 Jan. 2015. Web. 3 Nov. 2017.
“White Killer Whale: Scientists Prepare To Find ‘Iceberg,’ Thought To Be Albino Orca (VIDEO).” Huffington Post. 23 April 2012. Web. 3 Nov. 2017.