Saturday, December 11, 2010
December 11, 2010 : Albino Dolphin
A rare pink bottlenose dolphin has been spotted in a Louisiana lake. The albino dolphin has been making a splash with locals and visitors to the area since it was first spotted last year.
The animal has been photographed by local charter boat Captain Erik Rue, 42, who has been studying the dolphin since it first surfaced in Lake Calcasieu, an inland saltwater estuary, north of the Gulf of Mexico in south-west Louisiana. Rue originally saw the rare albino dolphin, which also has reddish eyes, swimming with a pod of four other dolphins.
"I just happened to see a little pod of dolphins, and I noticed one that was a little lighter ... I had never seen anything like it. It's the same colour throughout the whole body," said Rue.
"The dolphin appears to be healthy and normal other than its coloration, which is quite beautiful and stunningly pink," Rue said he had seen the dolphin 40 to 50 times.
"As time has passed the young mammal has grown and sometimes ventures away from its mother to feed and play but always remains in the vicinity of the pod," he said.
Regina Asmutis-Silvia, a senior biologist with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, said: "I have never seen a dolphin coloured in this way in all my career."
"It is a truly beautiful dolphin but people should be careful, as with any dolphins, to respect it - observe from a distance, limit their time watching, don't chase or harass it."
"While this animal looks pink, it is an albino which you can notice in the pink eyes. Albinism is a genetic trait and it unclear as to the type of albinism this animal inherited."
A different dolphin species, the endangered Amazon river boto (Inia geoffrenis), which lives in South America , is sometimes called the pink river dolphin because of its appearance.