The mystery of Migaloo
The famous Migaloo (‘white fella’ in Aboriginal) is a white male humpback whale who was first spotted in 1991 off Byron Bay. When Migaloo was first sighted he was the only known white whale in the world until September 2011. Besides Migaloo, there are only 3-4 other known white whales, making them exceedingly rare. The other white whales go by the names of Bahloo, Willow and Migaloo Jnr, all humpback whales.
Despite being almost completely white, Migaloo is referred to as ‘hyper-pigmented’ rather than ‘albino’. Scientists say that its possible Migaloo is ‘leucistic’ which refers to partial loss of pigmentation.
Migaloo has been given extra protection under Queensland & Commonwealth Government legislation which says that a vessel will be fined $16,500 if it comes within 500 metres of the white whale after a trimaran collided with the whale off the Queensland coast in 2003.
Scientists explained that it’s likely we’ll see less and less of Migaloo as he matures and swims further offshore.