A rare white whale has been spotted by a teenager off the coast of northern New South Wales.
The sighting raises the possibility that Migaloo, the famous white whale, has given birth.
On Thursday, Brayden Blake, 16, filmed a white humpback whale swimming about 500 meters off the shore of Fingal Head at Coolangatta, AU.
Around this time of year, Australia’s famous whale Migaloo, who is named after an indigenous term for ‘white fella,’ usually migrates north along the east coast.
Scientists are hopeful that the whale is the baby of the famed humpback whale, which has yet to be spotted this season.
It might be a ‘incredibly rare’ second white albino whale in the eastern Australian whale family, according to marine specialist Dr Wally Franklin.
“This is the first time that I’ve been able to say that the white whale I’m looking at could be a white whale other than Migaloo.”
“The timing of the sighting is consistent with it being a younger whale, because it’s still very early in the season,” said Dr Franklin, who also recognizes the beloved whale by the knobs on his dorsal fin.
If this is a separate whale or the beloved whale’s offspring, Migaloo is expected to appear in late June or early July.
“He’s been very consistent with those initial sightings so that could be a good indication that this might be a second white whale, which in itself would be quite incredible.”
Brayden, who works for Surf Life Saving NSW and undertakes shark monitoring using drones, filmed the white creature playing with a pod of dolphins on his personal drone.
“I was out for a paddle and a surf with my friend out the back … and heard this weird singing or screaming noise,” Blake told The Guardian.
He was astonished by the humpback’s color as he ran home to fetch his drone and film the footage.
“I’ve seen regular humpback whales before, but this one didn’t look at all the same. Every time it came back for a breath of air, it was white,” he said.
The humpback whale population migrates from Antarctica to the milder seas off the coast of north-east Australia every year between May and November.
After mating and giving birth, they return south with their young.
Migaloo is one of the estimated 40,000 whales, but because of his distinctive coloring, he is regarded particularly special.
Migaloo was first spotted in 1991 at Hervey Bay, and experts have been tracking the species ever since.
Migaloo’s coloring piqued researchers’ interest because he was thought to be the first entirely white whale in the eastern humpback whale population.