First sighting of an albino bottlenose dolphin in Africa

When approaching lovers lane in Algoa Bay, a favourite hangout for bottlenose dolphins, when all of a sudden, a white calf appeared among a pod of around 200 dolphins.

This sighting was shared by Raggy Charters, a leading eco-tour agency in Algoa Bay. ‘After 31 years of marine cruises in Algoa Bay . . . I thought I had seen it all,’ they commented on the shared images.

‘All of a sudden, I saw a white flash in the water among a pod of around 200 dolphins. When I saw it again, there it was, a beautiful metre-long ALBINO calf of around a month old.’

Albinism is a genetic anomaly caused by a total or partial absence of melanin in an animal or plant.

‘True albinism is so rare that only a few individuals have been observed since the 1950s and never in Africa,’ they said about the phenomenon in dolphins. ‘As albinos usually stand out from the rest of the school, it makes them an easy meal for predatory sharks.’

‘Algoa Bay has thrown up a few examples of partial albinism in the past. We have observed leucistic penguins, a white humpback whale, a pink dolphin and a few white Southern Right calves, but never a true albino.’

Raggy Charters have launched a competition to name the alibi calf, where the winner will receive a free cruise to go and view the bottlenose dolphins at St Croix Island, where you can add your suggestion in the comments here.

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