People named an Albino whale Gallon of Milk for her bright white skin when people first spotted her in 2008. In 2016, biologists later saw her swimming with her calf, which is normal-coloured.
The marine biologists were doing their census of grey whales (to which family she belongs) off Mexico’s Pacific coast.
Albinism is a genetic disorder which results in either the reduction or complete absence of the pigment melanin. People have recorded it in different mammals, birds and reptiles, but there are very few records of albino cetaceans.
For the last 20 years, the annual migration of grey whales off the coast of Mexico has been monitored during mating and reproduction seasons. By keeping an eye on the whales, the biologists have documented a successful recovery of the grey whale population, ensuring the survival of the species for future generations.
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