Extremely rare white whale ‘Migaloo’ sighted for first time this year off coast of Australia
Once thought to be the only all-white humpback whale in the world
One of the rarest and best-loved whales in the world has been spotted off the coast of Australia, in what is believed to be the first sighting of the year.
Migaloo, an all-white male humpback, is so famous down under that Queensland’s animal welfare legislation includes a special clause just for him, granting him additional protection from harassment by his fans.
First seen off Byron Bay in 1991, Migaloo was for a long time the only documented all-white humpback in the world.
He was captured on a mobile phone camera at around 8am on Tuesday morning off Green Cape in New South Wales, and though the image is “not the best” it was confirmed as a sighting by the founder of the White Whale Research Centre, Oskar Peterson.
Mr Peterson told ABC News Australia that the sighting matched Migaloo’s known migratory patterns off Australia’s east coast.
He said that while the whale is almost unique, watchers have a “good” opportunity to see him if they move quickly.
Migaloo sighted off the coast of Byron Bay, Australia's most easterly point, on 28 September, 2009 (Getty) “I know from Byron Bay to the Gold Coast, the last week of June to the first week of July is that two-week window where he'll go past,” the expert said.
“Now's the time down there in Eden (in New South Wales), down the south coast and Illawarra to get out there over the next couple of weeks, you'll have a good chance of spotting him.”
Mr Peterson said it was difficult to miss Migaloo when he goes past – but that it isn’t every year he makes a public appearance.
“He's been around for quite a while and he cruises up and down the east coast of Australia every year, but some years he goes missing in action so to speak,” Mr Peterson said.
“He sort of glows in the water like a fluorescent blue. He's quite an amazing sight.”
Migaloo’s movement have been documented closely over the years, and in 2004 sloughed skin samples collected by researchers gave a us clear genetic fingerprint – and showed that he is definitely male.
He is suspected to be an albino whale, though experts say the evidence on this point is not “definitive”. His name comes from Aboriginee for “White Fella”.
Migaloo was thought to be unique among humpbacks until in 2011 whale watchers spotted a similarly all-white male juvenile. Appearing in the same larger group as his famous predecessor, the calf was unofficially dubbed Migaloo Junior. It is unknown whether the two whales are related.
- 1 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 2 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
Israel-Gaza conflict: Deadly flechette shells 'used by Israeli military in Gaza Strip’
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Blogger captures footage ‘showing BUK missile launcher that shot down jet’ now back in Russia
Peaches Geldof inquest: Tragic final moments of socialite's life reveal she lied to husband about failed heroin tests
Israel-Gaza conflict: The myth of Hamas’s human shields
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£30000 - £40000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...
£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - We are makin...