Elusive White Humpback Migaloo Spotted Heading North Along Australia's Coast
Migaloo will be one of around 35,000 humpback whales that will make the arduous journey from Antarctica to waters off Queensland.
The whale's name means 'white fella' in several Indigenous languages.
The White Whale Research Centre and Great Barrier Reef Legacy have a dedicated account for Migaloo to let everyone know about the whale's movements.
View this post on InstagramEveryone at The White Whale Research Centre is jumping for joy! After carefully analysing the photos of a mysterious 'white whale' spotted very early in the season off of Port Douglas, it appears to actually be the big guy himself - #migaloo!! Photos of migaloo's tail fluke were taken by @wavelengthreefcruises on Wednesday, which were able to be compared to those taken of migaloo previous years. It's hard to believe, since this time in 2015 he was near New Zealand! To be so far north this time of year is both strange and very interesting. Thanks to crew onboard Silversonic for the photos taken on Friday of migaloo breaching #whitewhale #humpbackwhale #humpback #portdouglasdaintree #exploretnq #gbrmarinepark #thisisqueensland
A post shared by Migaloo (@migaloo_photos) on
Yesterday (June 15), the Twitter account said: "A white whale possibly Migaloo has been sighted along the NSW South Coast heading north. Estimated to cruise past Sydney anytime soon and Cape Byron anytime from Wednesday this week."
Migaloo was first spotted in 1991 and has since gained an army of followers and supporters who love getting a chance to see him. When he was first identified, he was believed to be the only all-white whale in the world.
It wasn't until 2011 that another all-white humpback whale calf was discovered. Since then, there have only been three or four more all-white whales discovered. So, the Mig is certainly a rare one to behold.
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Dr Wally Franklin, an adjunct fellow at Southern Cross University and founding director of The Oceania Project, said Migaloo is now into his 30s and will hopefully live as long as 100 years.
"He is now well and truly fully grown and fully mature. He's mature socially and physically," Dr Franklin said about Migaloo's migratory habits last year.
"It doesn't appear that he has had any issues with predators and he has an expectation to living as long as 100 years, which is the generally-believed life expectancy.
"Reports of his sightings have been available for just about every year of his life and so he has been very useful in cataloguing whale movements. Those sightings are very valuable in confirming migratory timing."
Due to laws in Queensland, tour operators aren't allowed to come within 500 metres of the massive animal when he eventually gets to the Sunshine State. A vessel can be fined up to AU$16,500 (£9,000) if they breach that rule.
While some might suggest Migaloo is albino or even leucistic (a partial loss of pigment), researchers believe that the whale is actually just hypopigmented.
So, if you're on Australia's east coast then definitely keep your eyes peeled as he and tens of thousands of other whales make the journey north.
Featured Image Credit: @Migaloo1/Twitter