First ever adult all-white orca whale sighted in the wild

Scientists working off the coast of Russia's Kamchatka have captured footage of what they believe to be the first ever adult all-white orca whale sighted in the wild. According to Reuters, scientists and students from the Russian-American Far East Russia Orca Project (FEROP) spotted the whale, which they've nicknamed "Iceberg," twice off the coast of the Bering Island in Aug. 2010. The scientists speculate that the whale could be an albino, but need further tests to confirm their theory. Albinism (from Latin albus, "white") is a congenital disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the hair due to the absence of an enzyme involved in the production of melanin. Here are some other animals that have this unique and rare trait. Far East Russia Orca Project/RTV

(CBS News) While on a research expedition off Russia's far eastern coast, scientists have captured footage of what is believed to be the first ever adult, all-white orca whale in the wild.

According to Reuters, scientists and students from the Far East Russia Orca Project (FEROP) announced Monday that they spotted the orca twice during an expedition off the coast of the Bering Island in Aug. 2010.

FEROP co-director Eric Hoyt said the whale is the third white orca found in the wild since a white female orca was captured by an aquarium in 1970, RTV reports.

"We've seen another two white orcas in Russia but they've been young, whereas this is the first time we've seen a mature adult," Hoyt told BBC News.

The adult orca, nicknamed "Iceberg," is said to be at least 15 to 16-years-old by its fully-grown dorsal fin.

Scientist hope to confirm soon whether the orca is an albino. According to U.S. National Library of Medicine, Albinism (from Latin albus, "white") is a congenital disorder in which pigment in the hair is partially or completely absence due to a lack of an enzyme found in melanin.


  • Edecio Martinez

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.