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Rare White Whales ‘Albino Orca’ Spotted

Rare White Whales 'Albino Orca' Spotted

 

 

 

Russian scientists are preparing to make an expedition to search for a rare-white Orca that has not been seen for 18 months.  The Orca has been named ''Iceburg" and was seen off of the  Commander Islands off the coast of Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula in 2010.  The whale is believed to be albino. In a press release, Hoyt says:

 

In the North Pacific, east of the Kamchatka Peninsula near the 
Commander Islands, the first-ever adult all-white, probably albino, orca bull has been 
observed by scientists from the universities in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The scientists of 
this international science project, studying acoustic and social complexity in whale and 
dolphin populations in the region, called this unique orca ”Iceberg” after they saw his 
towering 2-meter white dorsal fin breaking the surface.  
Iceberg has been found to live in a family unit, also called a pod, with 12 relatives. His pod is 
one of 61 identified social orca units in the region based on 12 years of research by the Far 
East Russia Orca Project (FEROP). The area around the Commander Islands, where Iceberg was first seen, is protected as 
Russia’s largest marine reserve. There are plans to expand it, and the scientists are suggesting 
that it should form part of a network of reserves to give protection to the critical habitat of 
various whale, dolphin and porpoise species off eastern Russia. Such a call is in response to 
local overfishing in some areas, and increased oil and gas exploration, which poses a threat to 
marine mammals from increasing noise levels, ship traffic and potential oil spills. As noise 
levels increase, the ability of whales to communicate over long distances may be 
compromised. 
“In many ways, Iceberg is a symbol of all that is pure, wild and extraordinarily exciting about 
what is out there in the ocean waiting to be discovered,” says Erich Hoyt, FEROP co-director 
and Research Fellow from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. “The challenge is to 
keep the ocean healthy so that such surprises are always possible.”