Forget Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. Here is proof of an incredibly rare animal that actually exists.
Wildlife officials reported an albino dolphin off Florida’s eastern coast last month. A volunteer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission captured the adolescent bottlenose dolphin on video Dec. 10 as it swam near Indian River Lagoon in Brevard County.
The video shows the dolphin surfacing several times close to the shoreline, apparently hunting for fish.
Officials refused to elaborate on the exact location the dolphin was discovered, concerned that people might pursue and harass the animal.
Sighting of albino dolphins are exceedingly rare. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, only about 14 albino dolphins have been seen since 1962. Recent appearances of wild albino dolphins in 2007 near Louisiana and in Italy in 2014 excited biologists, as some researchers believe there could be as few as 20 left in the wild.
Albinos have recessive genes that leave them devoid of melanin, turning their skin a lighter color. These animals often suffer in the wild, due to extreme sensitivity to the sun and lack of natural camouflage. Albino dolphins in particular may suffer from impaired vision, although their rarity means there is lack of research to confirm this.
Albino dolphins have often been sighted in pods, which they depend on survival. These tightly-knit groups are crucial for feeding, raising young, and fending off predators. The dolphin in this video was also spotted feeding with a grey-colored dolphin nearby.
Fortunately, in this case and others, it appears albino dolphins have no problems finding acceptance.