When two incredibly uncommon white orcas were discovered swimming together as a group off the coast of Japan, whale watchers were astounded.
The orcas were spotted while on a whale-watching tour between the Japanese islands of Hokkaido and Kunashir.
According to Mai, an employee of the Gojiraiwa-Kanko tour business, one of the two orcas was older and had noticeably darker skin, and the other was younger and had clear scratch scars going down its back.
She said that the adult whale had been sighted for the first time roughly two years earlier, whereas the younger whale was only recently found.
“It was the finest day ever,” I said. Two white orcas have never before been spotted off the coast of Japan, according to her.
Leucism rather than albinism has been found in the orcas. This is due to the fact that they weren’t completely pigment-free.
That explains both why the orcas that were spotted near to Japan still had the white patches that generally surround an orca’s chin and eyes and why the eyes themselves are still black.
As the scar tissue appears to have healed in a darker tone, it may provide some light on the scarring that runs down the side of the younger animal.
Scientists have discovered at least five white orcas and whales that are still living, despite the fact that they were once thought to be myths since they were so rare.
Because the remaining animals have fewer partners to select from as the population declines, a species’ genetic diversity declines, which is seen as an indication that the species is in jeopardy.
This includes unusual genetic disorders that make it difficult for an animal to survive in the wild and pose a threat to hasten the extinction of the species.
The specific effects of leucism on inherited orcas are unknown, however it can make them more conspicuous, hinder their ability to hunt, and attract unwelcome attention from rival orcas.