Researches believe that the beautiful all-white orca that was seen off the coast of Russia recently may also be the same pearl-white whale they had seen years earlier in Alaska.
A video showing the all-white killer whale in the wild has now gone viral on YouTube with over 500,000 views.
In 2010, scientists were on a research cruise near the Kamchatka Peninsula when they first saw an extremely rare all-white orca swimming with an ordinary pod, reports The Seattle Times.
“It was startling to see this 2-meter-high white dorsal fin shooting up among the other killer whales,” said Erich Hoyt, who is in charge of the Russian whale-research group. “It takes your breath away.”
They announced the 2-year-old discovery of the rare white orca earlier this week after releasing photographs and video. But it wasn’t the first time scientists had spotted such a rare creature.
Ten years earlier a seabird ecologist from the University of Washington photographed all-white adult orca about a half hour away from Alaska’s central Aleutian Islands. In 2008, a whale biologist took pictures of the same creature, which was identified by a shark-bite scar and telltale ripples on its fin.
Hoyt believes the new pictures are of the whale they nicknamed “Iceberg” a decade ago. And if it’s not the same whale, then that just means there are two extremely rare all-white orcas swimming around in the North Pacific.
“We really don’t want to discount either possibility,” Hoyt told The Seattle Times. “Both of them are actually really exciting. It’s really 50-50 at this point.”
If scientists were able to determine that “Iceberg” was albino, he would be the first adult male albino orca in history. If “Iceberg” were not deemed as albino he would just be genetically different from his pod.
“It’s fascinating,” Brad Hanson, a whale biologist from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, told The Seattle Times. “It’d be really great if they could put it all together.”
Take a look at a video which show the majestic white orca in the wild: