Extremely rare white dolphin steals spotlight in California bay

Extremely rare white dolphin steals spotlight in California bay

Outdoors

Extremely rare white dolphin steals spotlight in California bay

All-white dolphin swims with a pod mate. Photo: ©Kate Cummings/Blue Ocean Whale Watch

A rare white dolphin has captured the hearts of marine mammal enthusiasts in California’s Monterey Bay, where the striking mammal has been spotted at least twice within the past week.

The juvenile Risso’s dolphin, almost certainly an albino, was documented via Monterey Bay Whale Watch drone-cam Thursday as it stood out among other dolphins with typical gray coloration and scarring. (Pardon the ominous-sounding music in the video.)

“This albino juvenile Risso’s dolphin has rarely been seen in Monterey,” the whale-watching company stated on Facebook. “Today, we had great looks at it and from the drone’s perspective you can see the other Risso’s swimming next to it with ‘normal’ dark gray color and scars from squid and teeth [from other Risso’s dolphins].”

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On September 14, the same dolphin was photographed by Kate Cummings of Blue Ocean Whale Watch, among others. The white mammal was among hundreds of other Risso’s dolphins. Blue Ocean also logged sightings on Thursday.

All-white dolphin is likely albino. Photo: ©Daniel Bianchetta/Monterey Bay Whale Watch

The dolphin, which has earned the nickname Casper, was first photo-identified as a calf in 2014, swimming alongside its presumed mother. The mammal was spotted again in 2015, and last year. It might be the only all-white Risso’s dolphin documented around the world. (Some white-colored marine mammals are leucistic,  caused by the absence of some pigment. Albinos are all white with pink-colored eyes.)

All-white Risso’s dolphin is nicknamed Casper. Photo: ©Kate Cummings/Blue Ocean Whale Watch

Risso’s dolphins are unique in their appearance, featuring bulbous heads, large dorsal fins and gray, scarred bodies. They inhabit tropical and temperate waters around the world.

The large dolphins can measure to 13 feet and weigh 1,100 pounds.

–Images are courtesy of Blue Ocean Whale Watch and Monterey Bay Whale Watch

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