Featured Image Credit: russianorca.org
By: Sarah Sharkey
A white killer whale was recently documented by Russian researchers in the Bering Sea. The sighting occurred near the Commander Islands, which are about 100 miles east of the Kamchatka Peninsula.
The research ship was doing field work in the area. The crew encountered several large aggregations of killer whales and this white female was a part of one of the groups.
The female was identified as CO210. The orca was more playfully named Mama Tanya after the photoID researcher named Tatiana Ivkovich who is also a blonde.
The whale is not new to the research team. She was first sighted in 2009 and many times in 2010, but then she vanished for several years. The recent sighting is encouraging news for the team. Her coloration might be a concern for her survival in the wild, just because she is more noticeable which can sometimes be a problem.
Mama Tanya is a rare and beautiful animal. In fact, only a handful of albino or leucistic orcas has been spotted around the world. Although she is very white, this whale seems completely healthy. Mama Tanya is not an albino animal, she is leucistic. This condition means that she does have some pigment, unlike albino animals that have absolutely no pigment.
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