An upclose encounter with Migaloo, the only white humpback whale in the world. (Video)
The Pacific Whale Foundation has been following reported sightings of Migaloo, which means “White Fella” in the Aborginal Australian language. The name was coined by the Vice President of the foundation, Paul Forestell, based on advice from an Aboriginal elder.
Migaloo is the only known all-white humpback whale and he travels up and down the east coast of Australia. He has became quite famous with the local media and tourists. Migaloo was first sighted in 1991, and was believed to be three to five years old at that time. In 2004, Migaloo was shown to be male through analysis of sloughed skin samples.
Because of the intense interest, environmentalists feared he was becoming quite stressed by the number of boats following him around each day. In response to their concerns, the Queensland and New South Wales governments introduce legislation each year to create a 500-m (1600-ft) exclusion zone around the whale to keep him protected.
Unfortunately recent closeup pictures have shown Migaloo to have skin cancer and/or skin cysts as a result of his lack of protection from the sun due to his white coloration. This is actually quite common with white or albino animals which is one reason why they are so rare in nature.
Watch the video below to see a rare and special encounter with Migaloo as he approached a small boat to make his presence known.