The dead white humpback whale that washed up on an Australian beach is not the beloved Migaloo. Saturday morning a white whale washed ashore at Mallacoota Beach in Victoria. The news caused concern amongst whale lovers, who feared it was the famous albino whale named Migaloo. Authorities at Victoria’s Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning [DELWP] confirmed that the dead whale is not Migaloo.
After analyzing and comparing the photos of Migaloo and the dead whale, DELWP determined it was not the male whale. The dead white humpback whale was a younger female. According to the experts, this white whale probably lost is pigmentation and is not white.
Migaloo, the white humpback whale
The beautiful white humpback whale was first seen in 1991, in Byron Bay. The people named him Migaloo. The name is an indigenous word meaning “white fella.” After being tagging people followed him and he quickly gained a fanbase. Two years ago, he lost his tracking chip and scientists have been unable to locate him. Many fear that he is dead.
While this albino whale is not the only one, he is the most recognized. The other known white whales include Willow, Bahloo, and Migaloo Jr. It’s unclear whether these whales are related. Unlike the famous albino whale, they have dark spots on them. Black spots on whales are an indication that these whales have a condition called leucism. This condition causes the animal to be white, pale or patchy, everywhere on their body expect the eyes.
If scientists were right and Migaloo is still alive, he should be around 36 years old. Since humpback whales can live to be over 45-years old in the wild, there is still hope for the famous white whale.