"Albino Killer Whale Spotted"

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Kivia
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"Albino Killer Whale Spotted"

Post by Kivia » Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:51 pm

Albino killer whale spotted off east coast of Russia

A mature all-white male orca, the only one of its kind known, has been spotted in the North Pacific off the east coast of Russia, scientists announced April 23. After seeing its towering white dorsal fin breaking through the water's surface, the team named the distinctive beast "Iceberg."

Researchers first spotted the mature killer whale with his pod of 13 relatives in August 2010 in waters around the Commander Islands; he was seen twice that month, and photographed. When the researchers, part of the Far East Russia Orca Project, returned during the summer of 2011, they couldn't find him.

His pod is one of 61 identified social orca units, according to data collected by the Far East Russia Orca Project (FEROP) during their 12 years studying the killer whales.

"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," said 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."

In fact, the researchers suggest the area around the Commander Islands where Iceberg was first seen should form part of a network of reserves that would protect habitat for whale, dolphin and porpoise species off eastern Russia. Their call for such reserves, they say, is in response to overfishing and increased oil and gas exploration, which threatens marine mammals due to high noise levels, ship traffic and potential oil spills.

Iceberg appears very healthy at his ripe-old age of 16, an age determined by the size of his dorsal fin, which extends nearly 6.6 feet, or 2 meters, high, Hoyt said, adding that he seems to be doing OK socially as well.

But the team had wondered about Iceberg's health, particularly because of the only other record of a white orca. A 2-year-old female, all-white orca was captured at Sealand of the Pacific in Victoria, British Columbia, in 1970. Named Chimo, the whale died at age 4. Scientists discovered she had a rare genetic disorder called Chediak-Higashi Syndrome, which leads to partial albinism and a compromised immune system.

"But there is no evidence that Iceberg has anything like this," Hoyt told LiveScience. "We don't even know if he is a true albino."

From Iceberg's morphology, researchers think Iceberg is a fish-eater, unlike some groups of killer whales that primarily eat other marine mammals.

"His pod's sounds are different than most of the orcas around that area, so they could be from an area closer to the Arctic or in the Aleutians, we don't know," Hoyt said. In fact, one of the key elements of the orca project is to learn about the animals' unique dialects.

The team is leaving next month to begin their 13th year in the region studying orcas. "We are hoping to find his pod again," Hoyt said.
http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animal ... -of-russia

So how about that? There is a picture of him if you check out the link.
I didn't know it was possible to determine what an orca primarily feeds on based on morphology- I know I should focus on the fact that the orca may be albino and is the main point of the story, but I think that's still cool what scientists can figure out.
This also makes me wonder if there are any orcas with melanism, which would make the orca completely black. That would be a sight to see too~

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Re: "Albino Killer Whale Spotted"

Post by Donoma » Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:20 am

It was a strange sight the first time I saw the footage in the news. I have to say the article is the first time I actually read something about the white orca.

It would be nice if the do research about him, without disturbing his pod to much. He gives a lot to think about concerning the species, or reservation of species and natural habits,...

I hope he stays healthy and he gets to live his life without interferences of tourists, fortuneseekers... Because he is one of a kind and very popular.

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Re: "Albino Killer Whale Spotted"

Post by paperpaws » Tue May 01, 2012 3:43 am

Huh, that is really interesting. Seems like he isn't limited by his colour seeing he is already 16 years old, and he sounds enormous.

I have to agree with Donoma, it's always a shame to see special animals like him being disturbed.
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Re: "Albino Killer Whale Spotted"

Post by Unlucky 13 » Tue May 01, 2012 9:56 am

This is definitely interesting, thanks for posting it Kivia! I agree with Donoma and Silverness, I hope his pod isn't disturbed. I think I'm gonna be looking for future articles about him
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Re: "Albino Killer Whale Spotted"

Post by WolvesOfTheSeas » Thu May 03, 2012 3:11 pm

Are you seriously i never know that very interesting Facts about the "Albino Killer Whale Spotted" Who ever Watched Whales War...? Well they show a trailer about a men killing whales and also whales to the beach and being Blow Up Crazy Poor Whales :cry:

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