There are only three white humpback whales known to be in the region, and Migaloo is one of the most famous of the three.
Migaloo, which means “white fella,” has a genetic mutation called albinism.
Humpback whales with albinism are scarce and well-revered by the aboriginal tribe in Hervey Bay, where Migaloo was spotted and confirmed to be all white.
On June 15, whale watchers spot Migaloo heading north during his yearly migration.
Migaloo, the Famous Whale
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Migaloo captivated the attention of the world back in 1991 when he passed by Byron Bay.
At that time, the only picture of him was somewhat blurry.
However, in 1993 researchers found him again in Hervey Bay, Queensland, and they were able to confirm the whale is all white.
Since then, the White Whale Research Centre and Great Barrier Reef Legacy created a Twitter account for Migaloo.
This account allows the rest of the curious world to find out the whereabouts of the whale.
In 2004 scientists at Southern Cross University did genetic testing, and in 2011 the Australian Marine Mammal Centre looked at the DNA and gave confirmation he is a true albino.
In the beginning, the belief was he was not a real albino whale because his eyes were brown rather than pink or red, which is the usual sign of albinism.
Migaloo has some identifiable traits such as markings on the dorsal fin and the shape of his tail flukes.
These traits make it possible to easily recognize Migaloo.
A Protected Mammal
Humpback whales have protection under Australian Federal Law, but whales with at least 90 percent white are unique.
The special designation came about because Migaloo’s fans became excited and harmed him.
In 2003 a boat of spectators ran into him and caused scarring to his back.
Now, boats cannot get within 500 meters, and aircraft must stay at least 610 meters back from mammals like Migaloo.
Humans are not traveling as much these days.
However, Migaloo is getting around just fine, judging by the sightings posted on his Twitter.
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