A rare pink bottlenose dolphin affectionately known as ‘Pinky’ has been spotted in Louisiana, and her fans think she could be pregnant.
Captain Erik Rue, who runs a chartered boat service on the Calcasieu River, first discovered Pinky in 2007. The dolphin is believed to be female, and Captain Rue told local news station WGNO ABC that when he first spotted Pinky she was a baby swimming around with her mother.
Pinky has now returned eight years later swimming either alone or with a pod of other dolphins.
“We still see her swimming almost every day in the summertime. We’ve seen her a lot in the last few weeks. She looks so happy and healthy,” Captain Rue told the TV station.
The captain said he has seen Pinky mating this summer and is keen to know that if she were to become pregnant, whether her calf would be pink or not.
The reason the dolphin is pink has not been formally explained, though Captain Rue does not think the mammal is an albino, believing Pinky would appear more white if that were the case.
But Greg Barsh, a scientist specialising in colour variation genetics at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Albama, told the National Geographic magazine that Pinky is most likely an albino dolphin.
If Pinky is an albino and is also pregnant, it is unlikely her calf would also be albino and appear pink, however. National Geographic reports that both Pinky and her mating partner would need to both carry the mutated gene that causes albinism, after which there would only be a 50 per cent chance of giving birth to an albino calf.
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