Rare albino whale puts on a show off Australian coast

It may seem straight out of Moby Dick, but a rare white whale is thrilling Australians off the eastern coast.

The albino humpback has been nicknamed "Migaloo" by researchers who track his movements.

Albino whales are rare and Migaloo is the only documented all-white humpback adult, according to Peter Harrison, director of marine ecology research at Southern Cross University in Australia.

Migaloo was first seen in 1991 when he was a juvenile, Harrison says, and researchers believe he is now in his 20s.

The humpbacks are on their annual migration from their breeding grounds along the Great Barrier Reef back to feed in the Antarctic.

"Everyone here is quite excited," says Oskar Peterson, who runs a website that tracks sightings of white whales around the globe. "We see him almost every year now, but it's still front page news when he turns up."

Migaloo is expected to pass by Cape Byron, the easternmost point in Australia, in the coming hours after passing by Surfer's Paradise, Peterson says. Spotters of the whale share sightings at his website

Male humpbacks can travel up to 140 kilometers (87 miles) a day during their migration, according to experts.

But they often hang around Cape Byron searching for mates, so whale watchers may see the albino humpback for a few more days, Harrison says.

He warns fans to steer clear -- at least 500 meters away at all times -- to ensure the whale's survival. Too much noise and chasing can disturb him and cause him to use precious energy he needs for migration.

Whale watchers may be able to enjoy Migaloo for decades. Humpback whales are believed to survive as long as 90 years in the wild, Harrison says. (SOURCE)


Responses to "A rare white whale has been spotted off Australia (Video)"

  1. Unknown says:

    Even better is the fact that if he is albino, it's likely he's carrying just a simple recessive that leads to albinism. If so, he's passing it on to 100% of his offspring and sooner or later some of them will mate and the next generations of humpbacks will pop more albinos to thrill watching humans.

  2. Unknown says:

    Heck, he might even breed with some of his relatives that are also carrying albino as a recessive themselves, so who knows, we may see albino humpbacks in just the next few years as well.

  3. Kimberly says:

    So happy we can see this rare creature around the world! Fantastic!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Now we just have to pray that the Japanese whaling fleet doesn't get any where near him.

  5. Anonymous says:


  6. Cat says:

    If the albino gene is recessive, he couldn't have just one. He'd either have to have two, or the albino gene would have to be dominant. It is mostly likely both of his parents carried one recessive albino gene each, which gave him a 25% chance of being albino. In order to pass the exhibited trait on to offspring he would have to breed with another albino, meaning all of their offspring would be albino, or breed with an animal carrying the albino recessive gene, which would give any offspring from that union a 50% chance of being albino.

  7. Morgana says:

    So rare beauty blessed are who watch this live.

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