Seeing a white orce is very rare but to see a whole pod of adults edges on the legendary. Scientists were surprised when the majestic animal rose out of the water directly next to their boat that was out in the water for purposes of surveying the populations of humpback whales. Instead they were treated with a sighting very few people get to experience in their lifetimes. This happened just off Kamchatka peninsula which is located in Eastern Russia.
The unusual animal approached the boat along with the rest of its group. The entire experience was shared on Facebook by one of the scientist that was present on the vessel. The scientists are saying that even though the stunning animal seems very large to those who don’t know what to look for it is most probably still a youngster.
An albino orca viewed in the wild is something not very often experienced due to the fact that they are believed to have a very short lifespan. The last time that anyone ever saw the white killer whale was in 2010 and the team will be returning next month to see if they can track him down again. The FEROP team considered themselves very fortunate to see this beauty with their own eyes when they were co-led by Eric Hoyt.
The orca is now lovingly known as Iceberg and he seems to be totally accepted by his group as he was swimming with his siblings and mother and others (12 individual animals in total) without incident, according to researchers. White wales are not exactly unheard of but conservationists have only been reporting very young individuals. They say that they have encountered three white orcas in the past years but never a fully grown specimen that is completely white. By taking pictures of Iceberg’s eyes, scientist will be able to determine if the animal is in fact an albino or not. If the eyes are pink he definitely is.
Although albinism in orcas is a bit of a grey area, it is known that they have an extremely weak immune system and they are thought to die at a young age. Partial albinos on the other hand can live until they are fully grown adults. Iceberg boasts a dorsal fin of about two meters which indicates an age of at least 16 years and he seems to be entirely white. Hoyt explained that they have identified about 1500 orcas in the area over the past 12 years and they will know that Iceberg is gone when his pod is spotted without him being among them.
With the use of hydrophones scientists will record the sounds these ocean giants make during their expedition scheduled from May to September. They believe they have already found three or four different groups of whales and the amazing thing is they all have a distinct dialect.