Off the coast of Japan, whale watchers were awestruck when they witnessed two exceptionally uncommon white orcas swimming as a pod.
Orcas were spotted on a whale-watching excursion between the Japanese islands of Hokkaido and Kunashir.
According to Mai, an employee of the Gojiraiwa-Kanko tour company, one of the two orcas was older and had substantially darker skin, but the other was younger and had visible scratch marks going down its back.
She reported that the younger whale had been discovered very lately, whereas the older whale had been spotted for the first time almost two years earlier.
“It was the best day in history. She stated that this is the first time two white orcas have been spotted off the coast of Japan.
Here is video footage of the once-in-a-lifetime experience:
Leucism, not albinism, has been determined to be present in orcas. This is because they did not lack pigmentation altogether.
This explains why the eyes are still dark and why the two orcas spotted near Japan still possessed the white patches that generally encircle an orca’s chin and eyes.
It may provide light on the scarring that runs down the side of the younger animal, as the scar tissue looks to have darkened as it has healed.
According to scientists, there are currently at least five living white orcas and whales, but they were once so rare that they were believed to be myths.
A species’ genetic diversity reduces as its population decreases, as the remaining animals have fewer potential mates to choose from; this is a warning that the species is in danger.
This comprises rare genetic abnormalities that impede an animal’s capacity to survive in the wild, hence creating a threat to accelerate extinction.
Although the precise effects of leucism on orcas that inherit it are unknown, it can make them more visible, decreasing their hunting abilities and attracting unwanted attention from competition.