Rare Albino Dolphin Spotted Off California Coast

A baby albino dolphin swimming alongside its mother was spotted by the crew of a Blue Ocean Whale Watch boat while sailing off the coast of California in Monterey Bay.Kate Cummings, a team member, was able to capture footage and photos of the extremely rare marine mammal.

Kate Cummings/Blue Ocean Whale Watch

It turned out to be a 3-year-old Risso dolphin, first spotted in 2014 as a few-month-old calf.The whale-watching crew immediately recognized it and were relieved to see it in such good health.

Kate Cummings/Blue Ocean Whale Watch

“Albinism in the wild is extremely rare,” Cummings told Live Science. “I believe this is the only known albino Risso’s dolphin in the eastern Pacific.”Because it’s such a rare sighting, seeing the dolphin felt incredibly special.”I saw the same dolphin two years ago; it is now about three years old and still with its mother.”

You can watch the video below:

Albinism is responsible for the dolphin’s unusual coloring.A rare condition in which the cells do not produce melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color.Albinism has been observed in over 20 marine species, including dolphins, according to the NationalOceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Kate Cummings/Blue Ocean Whale Watch

Albino animals may appear cute, but this rare condition causes a slew of health and social issues, the most common of which is poor eyesight.They are also frequently rejected by their groups, and their outlandish appearance makes them extremely vulnerable to predators.

Kate Cummings/Blue Ocean Whale Watch

“Albino animals may be more prone to skin problems because there is no melanin to protect the skin from ultraviolet rays, and they may have poor eyesight and hearing,” Cummings explained.”As far as we can tell, this juvenile appears to be in good health.”