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The Far East Orca Project researchers have shared pictures of a white killer whale with the world. The mature male is nicknamed Iceberg because of his colour. The rare white Orca was photographed swimming with other normally coloured black and white whales off the Kamchatka Peninsula.
The researchers from the University of Moscow and St. Petersburg spotted the mature male last August and also in 2010 but kept their discovery secret until now. The scientists are heading out to the same area where Iceberg was seen. They are hoping that he is still travelling with his group(pod).
Radio Free Europe conducted an email interview with Dr. Erich Hoyt, one of the team leaders, about the discovery.
Little is known about white Orcas. They may be albinos or it may be a natural colour variation. The Far East Orca Project has noted two other while whales in the area, but they were juveniles. Albinism imposes some survival risks on animals and usually wild ones do not survive to maturity.
Other species of animals have white, non-albino, individuals. The Spirit Bear is a white variant of the common black bear. It resides in the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia. The beluga whale is an all white marine mammal that normally inhabits the Arctic and frigid waters off the east coast of Canada.
Tags: iceberg, killer whales, orcas, environment, green