Spotting southern right whales in Australia is pretty uncommon, but seeing an albino southern right whale is even rarer.
The Department of Parks and Wildlife at the Fitzgerald River National Park in Australia managed to capture some incredibly unique drone footage of a pod of four southern right whales. What makes the footage that much more special is the fact that among the group is a young, partially albino calf. Albinism is very rare in mammals—only about 1 in 10,000 are born with the genetic defect.
Doug Coughran, the senior wildlife officer with the Department of Parks and Wildlife, says that as the young whale ages its skin pigment will darken, going from white to a light grey. As for the other three whales in the pod, Coughran believes that two of them are males who are trying to mate with the female during migration season.
Once thriving in populations of 60,000, the southern right whale was hunted to near extinction. In fact, they earned the name ‘right whale’ as they were considered the ‘right whale to hunt’. While they have been making a significant comeback, there are still only about 3000 living in the waters surrounding Australia.
Earlier last month another drone operator managed to capture spectacular footage of southern right whales curiously approaching a stand up paddle-boarder for a closer inspection.