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Rare pink dolphins spotted swimming in Louisiana

Thurman Gustin has been fishing along a river in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, for more than 20 years. Last week, he came across something he's never seen before – two rare, pink dolphins. 

He captured one of the dolphins on video popping out of the water. He said that there are always dolphins in the area, but this one took him by surprise. Gustin said the sighting ranks among the highest of other experiences he's had with other wildlife – even a bobcat swimming across a bayou in Texas. 

"That was cool," the Houston, Texas, native said of the bobcat, "but nothing like this." 

"As we were going I noticed something just under the water that I knew wasn't normal. I [stopped] the boat and up popped this beautiful pink dolphin," he said, adding that his first reaction when he saw it was, "I had to record it." 

The dolphin was among "several" swimming in the area, he said, adding that the large one he recorded wasn't the only pink dolphin among the pod. 

"The big pink one went by and had a smaller one next to it," he said. "My girlfriend also noticed the differences in the size." 

Saw 2 pink dolphins today! So amazing!

Posted by Thurman Gustin on Wednesday, July 12, 2023

While there is a species known as the pink river dolphin, that particular species lives in freshwater river basins across South America, according to the World Wildlife Fund. These animals were likely bottlenose dolphins, which are typically gray in color and are often found in the Gulf of Mexico. Cameron Parish, where Gustin saw the dolphin, borders the Gulf. 

According to the Blue World Institute, pink- or white-colored bottlenose dolphins are rare, and it's a trait seen among those that have albinism. 

"Albino dolphins are uncommon and therefore attract human attention leading to some of them being unfortunately captured and held captive," the Institute says. 

This particular dolphin may have been southern Louisiana's famous dolphin, Pinky, which was first seen in 2007 in the Calcasieu River in the same area Gustin was in. Scientist Greg Barsh, who studies color variation in genetics, previously told National Geographic that Pinky is likely an albino dolphin, given its reddish eyes and blood vessels, indicating a lack of pigment. 

Pinky has since garnered her own Facebook page with thousands of followers, where people share footage of their own encounters with the animal. The animal seen by Gustin could also potentially be a member of Pinky's family, as Pinky has been spotted with a calf in the past. 

"I love nature," Gustin said. "...always be inspired by nature, it's God's way of saying hello." 

A pink dolphin was captured on video in southern Louisiana last week after a fisherman spotted it swimming in a river.  Thurman Gustin
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