A research team has recently discovered what they believe may be the orca version of Moby Dick. Spotted off the eastern coast of Russia, the scientists saw what is being considered one of the first all-white, adult male killer whales ever documented -- not to mention caught on film.
The scientists studying killer whales from the Far East Russia Orca Project first saw the white and potentially albino whale in the North Pacific, east of the Kamchatka Peninsula near the Commander Islands, according to a statement released yesterday. Appropriately, they've named the whale "Iceberg."
Check out this short clip of Iceberg:
“In many ways, Iceberg is a symbol of all that is pure, wild and extraordinarily exciting about what is out there in the ocean waiting to be discovered,” Erich Hoyt, FEROP co-director and Research Fellow from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, said in the statement. “The challenge is to keep the ocean healthy so that such surprises are always possible.”
Iceberg is reported to live in a pod with 12 other orcas. MSNBC states that young all-white orcas have been seen in the same pod before but have not been recorded as making it to adulthood. Scientists believe this shows some of the unique attributes of Iceberg.
The researchers hope to gain more information about Iceberg, his pod, and other pods in the protected area to help raise awareness about the importance of marine conservation plans. If the scientists show that Iceberg's pod is a different species other than traditional orcas, which they believe it could be, it would be cause for a more extensive conservation plan accommodating to both species.
"With regard to Iceberg’s pod, we have no genetic data but we are hoping to meet them again in summer 2012 and learn more about the phenomenon of white whales, why they occur, what it means and whether Iceberg is a true albino — perhaps we can catch a glimpse of a pink eye — or “just” one of the most beautiful orcas anyone has ever seen," Hoyt wrote in a blog post.