You don’t often see an all-white humpback whale, something known as a Migaloo, but they managed to spot one heading north along the East Coast of Australia during the migration.
Migaloo are included in the 35,000 humpback whales that make the journey from Antarctica to waters nearby to Queensland. The name of the whale means “white fella” in some of the indigenous languages.
The Great Barrier Reef Legacy and the White Whale Research Center dedicated an account for Migaloo to let everyone know where the whale is.
View this post on Instagram
Everyone at The White Whale Research Centre is jumping for joy! After carefully analysing the photos of a mysterious ‘white whale’ spotted very early in the season off of Port Douglas, it appears to actually be the big guy himself – #migaloo!! Photos of migaloo’s tail fluke were taken by @wavelengthreefcruises on Wednesday, which were able to be compared to those taken of migaloo previous years. It’s hard to believe, since this time in 2015 he was near New Zealand! To be so far north this time of year is both strange and very interesting. Thanks to crew onboard Silversonic for the photos taken on Friday of migaloo breaching #whitewhale #humpbackwhale #humpback #portdouglasdaintree #exploretnq #gbrmarinepark #thisisqueensland
The twitter account reported on June 15: “A white whale possibly Migaloo has been sighted along the NSW South Coast heading north. Estimated to cruise past Sydney anytime soon and Cape Byron anytime from Wednesday this week.”
They first spotted Migaloo in 1991 and the whale now has plenty of supporters who love an opportunity to see him. They thought that he was the only all-white whale in the world when he was first identified.
Another all-white humpback whale calf was seen in 2011. Three or four more have been discovered since that time, but the Mig is still quite rare.
An adjunct fellow at Southern Cross University, Dr Wally Franklin, said Migaloo may live as long as 100 years of age but currently, he is in his 30s.
“He is now well and truly fully grown and fully mature. He’s mature socially and physically,” Dr Franklin said about Migaloo’s migratory habits last year.
“It doesn’t appear that he has had any issues with predators and he has an expectation to living as long as 100 years, which is the generally-believed life expectancy,” he continued. “Reports of his sightings have been available for just about every year of his life and so he has been very useful in cataloging whale movements. Those sightings are very valuable in confirming migratory timing.”
Laws in Queensland keep operators of tours from coming within 500 m of the whale when he finally makes it to the area. A fine of up to AU$16,500 could be levied against anyone who breaks the law.
Some feel that Migaloo is an albino, but researchers think that he is hypopigmented.
If you happen to be visiting Australia’s East Coast, you may just want to keep your eyes open for this and many other whales that are making the journey north.