Elusive White Whale Spotted

NOAA researchers spotted a rare White Orca Whale near the Aleutian Islands. Photo courtesy H. Fearnbach / NOAA NMFS Permit 782-1719.

by Chad news

Government researchers spotted a rare white killer whale in the Aleutian Islands. The whale was spotted on February 23rd among a pod of normally colored whales.

Scientist aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research ship were conducting an acoustic survey of pollock near Steller sea lion haulout sites in the Aleutians, when the whale was spotted.

Research biologist John Durban, of the NOAA Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, said the whale is probably not a true albino. The whale has a noticeable white saddle area, but the rest of its body has some subtle yellowish or brownish color pigmentation.

Years ago, a white whale was spotted in the Aleutians but such whales have eluded researchers since. Others have reported seeing a white whale near St. Lawrence Island.

The adult whale male is estimated to be about 25 to 30 feet long weighing upward of 10,000 pounds, and also appears to be healthy.