Guess who showed up again and that too in the wrong place. It’s Migaloo, Australia’s world-famous white whale. The beautiful big and white humpback whale is found swimming in the Australian waters but that’s where its ‘usually’ found, researchers are positive that they have spotted the whale in Cook Strait waters, which lies between the North and South islands of New Zealand.
Nadine Bott of the New Zealand Department of Conservation is quite certain that the distinct colour, ‘crooked finger’ dorsal fin and the prominent spine are all attribute’s that point it to being Migaloo.
“White humpback are extremely rare,” Ms Bott said. “Only four have been reported in the world.”
The first dart biopsy of Migaloo’s skin layer was taken on Sunday by researchers on an annual winter humpback survey of the Cook Strait.
The DNA record taken in 2004 by Australian scientists from Southern Cross University in Townsville who collected sloughed skin from the water behind Migaloo off the New South Wales coast will be compared to this freshly taken biopsy.
SCU’s Peter Harrison states that the Cook Strait route is a well-known path for humpback whales when they migrate from Antarctica to join the East Australian whales.
When spotted the white whale was cruising along with other more common dark-coloured humpbacks. It has been known that Migaloo likes to swim with the female humpbacks and likes to sing to them similar to other males, added Professor Harrison.
“There has been speculation he may have fathered other white humpbacks, and if he is able to successfully reproduce, there is a high probability the calf will be white too,” Professor Harrison said.
However he adds that there is no evidence available to support this theory and it is thought that as an albino whale, Migaloo is likely to be infertile or have a weaker immune system.
Migaloo is now 24 years old and is likely to live a life as long as a human.
At first scientists had estimated that humpbacks live up to 48 years of age but now newer research has proven that they can easily live up to 96.