white orca
by Candice Chandler
Categories: Science, Video.
Photo: Far East Russia Orca Project

Russian scientists released video footage of an extremely rare male adult albino orca, dubbed Iceburg. Although the video was recorded in 2010, scientists have hopes of relocating the 16-year-old by launching a new search for him and his family.

Living in a group of 13, Iceburg was spotted as his dorsal fin broke the surface while swimming with his pod. Thought to be the only living white orca in the entire ocean, Iceburg has ignited excitement throughout the marine mammal world.

Erich Hoyt, co-director of FEROP and researcher with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society writes, “In many ways, Iceberg is a symbol of all that is pure, wild and extraordinarily exciting about what is out there in the ocean waiting to be discovered.”

Spotting such a anomaly in nature is near-impossible, Hoyt describes, noting, “with Iceberg being the only male and the whitest.” Despite his striking appearance the killer whale might not be completely albino because his eyes were never observed.

Pink or red eye color is the determining factor when scientists question why an organism shows any sign of genetic mutation, like the color of Iceburg’s skin. With the launch of the new search for him in the summer of 2012, researchers are hopeful in discovering exactly why he’s pure white, and possibly unique.