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Photographer Captures Incredibly Rare White Whale

Michael Minay

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Photographer Captures Incredibly Rare White Whale

A ghostly-like whale has been spotted in near the coast of Australia, in a rare sighting.

The humpback whale, known locally by his nickname, Migaloo, was captured on camera near New South Wales.

If it was not for his size, it would be fair to assume that he was a traditional beluga whale, but Migaloo is actually an albino.

One lucky photographer, Craig Parry, managed to get the whale on camera as Migaloo headed for warmer waters during migration.

Credit: Caters

It could well be that the 37-year-old is the first to take pictures of the albino underwater.

Parry said: "Migaloo is special and unique because he is the only albino humpback in Australia.

"I found Migaloo after tracking his travels up the east coast of Australia with a mapping programme - when I realised he was passing my home town of Byron Bay I felt pure excitement with a big hit of adrenaline."

The photographer certainly appreciated that this was an opportunity not to be missed.

Credit: Caters

He added: "Words couldn't really describe how I felt after capturing these once-in-a-lifetime images, but all I can say is it made me feel more connected to the ocean.

"When my friends on the boat saw my images, their reaction was priceless - it was like I had just won the lottery, there were lots of hugs and high fives."

Migaloo isn't often seen so far north, even during the migration season, and lives around the icy waters of Antarctica.

"It's rare to see Migaloo," Parry explained. "He doesn't travel north most years, but instead stops before New Zealand and then heads back to Antarctica to feed.

"I'm pretty sure these are the first underwater images of him in the world.

"I love photographing whales because of their sheer size and unpredictable behaviour - when I look a whale in the eye I feel there is some kind of connection taking place."

Credit: Caters

Humpback whales number around 80,000 worldwide, with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) changing their status from 'vulnerable' to 'least concern' in 2008 - although there is no doubting the extreme rarity of albino humpbacks like Migaloo.

However, the traditional white (beluga) whale, which lives in the northern hemisphere near the Arctic circle, may have larger numbers (around 150,000) but has an IUCN ranking of 'near threatened' - hunting and contamination are perceived to be its biggest threats.

Featured Image Credit: Caters

Topics: Australia

Michael Minay
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