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Rare White Killer Whale Spotted in Alaskan Waters

13/03/2008 14:43:29 news/white-orca[1]
March 2008. Scientists conducting research in the North Pacific have sighted a very rare white Killer whale, or Orca. The white killer whale was spotted with its pod about two miles off Kanaga Volcano, part of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. At the time, Kodiak-based ship Oscar Dyson was on a research expedition for The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), assessing pollock fish stocks near Steller sea lion haulout sites.
White killer whale with pod off Alaska's Aleutian Islands. © NOAA.
Holly Fearnbach, a research biologist from NOAA was able to photograph the whale’s white fin and back. ‘With hundreds of killer whales documented around the Aleutian Islands, this was equivalent to finding a needle in a haystack,’ she said.

Few white killer whales have ever been seen, much less scientifically documented. This whale is likely not a true albino because it still has signs of darker pigmented areas on its body. However, because of its prominent colouring, the white whale serves as an indicator for movements of killer whales in the North Pacific.
White killer whale with pod off Alaska's Aleutian Islands. © NOAA.
Previous Sightings
White killer whales have been sighted previously in the Aleutian Islands as well as in the Bering Sea and off the Russian coast. Scientists are working to confirm whether or not this whale is the same animal as any of those previous seen.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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