Photo: Wayne Fewings. Source.
A rare white humpback whale calf has been seen near Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Believed to be just a few weeks old, the baby humpback was spotted at Cid Harbour in the famous reef’s Whitsunday Islands area by local man Wayne Fewings who described the sighting as a ‘once in a lifetime experience‘.
White whales are highly unusual, with only 10 to 15 believed to exist among up to 15,000 living along Australia’s east coast, and purely white ones – like the calf spotted on Saturday – rarer still.
The calf’s parents may both have been dark humpbacks carrying a recessive white whale gene, but Great Barrier Reef official Mark Read said one may also have been white themselves.
That raises speculation that the calf could be the offspring of famous white humpback Migaloo.
Migaloo – the name is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘whitefella’ – is the world’s best-known all-white humpback and has built up a loyal following in Australia since first being sighted in 1991.
Mr Read said it was impossible to speculate on the baby humpback’s parentage without genetic tests to compare with samples taken from Migaloo.