Danielle Carter, a volunteer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, saw an albino bottlenose dolphin in the second week of December, reports the KHOU virtual channel and VHF digital channel 11. The extremely rare albino dolphin belonging to this species has been seen for the first time in nearly half a century. What makes the sighting remarkable is that Carter was able to film the entire scene and capture it on video!
Biologists have confirmed instances of albinism among 20 species of dolphins, whales and porpoises. Before this sighting, there had been only 14 confirmed cases of albino dolphins. Carter shared the two minute video of this sighting on YouTube without sharing the exact location where the rare creature was seen, keeping in view its safety. They do however mention that the animal was seen near a shoreline of mangroves in Brevard County’s Indian River Lagoon.
The playful mammal can be seen breaking above the windswept waters several times in the video (attached below), its white body clearly standing out against the dark backdrop.
“We thought it was worth sharing due to their rarity but we are not able to give out an exact location for the sake of the animal’s safety,” FWC spokesman Brandon Basino told Florida Today. “We did not ask for a specific location for this very reason.”
According to the NOAA, albinism manifests itself in an offspring who inherits recessive genes from both parents. Though albinism in most animals is associated with a milky white color, albino dolphins are actually usually pinkish to look at. However, this latest albino dolphin looks whiter than white. Albinism in some mammals is also correlated to red eye coloring and often-impaired vision.
Since albinism in dolphins is extremely rare, researchers have not been able to know for sure if this genetic trait in them is associated with any negative health effects as well. Here is the video of the unusual animal: