Sunday, July 6, 2014

Researchers Worry for White Whale’s Health

Whales come in all sizes and colors, but you rarely see one that’s all white. One of the most famous whales being monitored right now is a rare all-white humpback whale called Migaloo. This is the first ever documented albino humpback and researchers are taking their time learning more about this wonderful creature.

However, news about Migaloo’s condition is alarming them. They have noticed red marks on the rare animal while it swims along the Australian east coast. They fear that these red spots could be an indicator that the white whale has a form of skin cancer. According to Oskar Peterson, founder of the White Whale Research Centre, they noticed red marks on the whale’s dorsal through photos of Migaloo taken while it was near Sydney.

Peterson explained that the white whale was seen with yellow and red discoloring on its skin. The yellowish pigments seen on its skin are just natural and is caused by an algae. They’re more worried about the rash around Migaloo’s dorsal fin. He added that they’re hoping that while the whale makes its way to warmer waters, more photos of it will be taken to help them access whether its current condition is serious or not. Migaloo’s red spots were first noticed back when they first started tracking it in 1996.

Another possibility for its discoloration would be sunburn. Since the whale has a lighter color, it’s more prone to getting sunburned compared to the others. For now, photos of the rare white whale are being inspected by experts at the Southern Cross University.

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