An incredibly rare albino dolphin was spotted swimming off the coast of California, and the stunning video of the animal has since gone viral. The dolphin’s unique appearance, with its unusual pigment, makes it stand out from the rest of the pod.
The video was shot by Kate Cummings at the Monterey Bay, California, and she explained that the dolphin is the only known albino Risso’s dolphin in the Eastern Pacific.
Albinism in wild animals is incredibly rare, and the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species considers the Risso’s dolphin species ‘data deficient’ due to insufficient information on population status and trends. While there have been observations of albinism in over 20 species of ocean-going mammals, including dolphins, it remains a rare genetic trait.
Despite their striking appearance, albino animals are not believed to be inherently weaker or less capable than regular animals, although their coloration can make them easier targets for predators. Albino dolphins with especially severe traits can sometimes suffer from impaired vision.
However, due to the rarity of albino animals, extensive research is yet to be carried out on the topic, and theories often have to be extrapolated from albino humans.
Sightings of albino animals in the wild are always a special event, and Cummings noted that she first saw this particular albino dolphin around two years ago when it was swimming with its mother. The video footage of the animal has garnered widespread attention, bringing awareness to the beauty and rarity of these unique creatures.