Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF) is pleased to offer this website as a means of documenting the activities of Migaloo, the only documented albino humpback whale in the world.

Migaloo is perhaps the most famous humpback whale in the world. His distinctive absence of pigmentation due to albinism allows people to easily identify him and report sightings. He was first spotted in 1991 off Byron Bay, Queensland by a group of volunteers conducting a whale count. The first photograph of Migaloo was taken through a telescope from a distance of over 5km away. It was blurry and unclear if he was all white. In 1993 PWF researchers encountered this amazing white whale in Hervey Bay, Queensland. During our first encountered we were able confirm the whale was all white, and in 1998 PWF recorded the whale singing, a trait distinct to male humpback whales. Read our research paper on Migaloo >

After sharing our remarkable discovery with the public, there was an outcry to ‘name the whale’. Dr. Paul Forestell (then PWF Research Director now Board Member) and PWF Founder and Executive Director Greg Kaufman decided the naming of the whale should be done by the elders of the local aboriginal collective in Hervey Bay. After conferring with Dr. Forestell and examining images of the white whale, they asked to have a few days to consider a name. Ultimately they named the white whale “Migaloo” or “white fella”. The elders further explained their connection to all white or albino animals and that they appear on earth to be respected and revered, that their unique color demonstrates the need to respect all forms of life even if they appear different than ‘normal’. They should be honored with reverence and respect not discrimination and shame.

Since this initial encounter Migaloo has been seen dozens of times. PWF researchers estimated he was 8 – 10 years at time of initial sighting making him approximately 32-36 years old in 2015. He has been observed in New Zealand waters but primarily off east Australia migrating as far north as Cooktown and south past Sydney.

Migaloo is a member of the east Australian population of humpback whales. Migaloo’s population of humpback whales feed in Antarctica from November to April and migrates along the east coast of Australia to breed near the Great Barrier Reef from May to October.

Scientists were initially skeptical to state Migaloo has albinism because his eyes are brown, rather than the typical red or pink. In the past he has been called the more conservative terms “all-white”, or “hypo-pigmented”. However, a 2011 study of his DNA by researchers at the Australian Marine Mammal Centre found a genetic variation leading to albinism.

Genetic testing confirmed another fact about Migaloo: he is a male. Scientists already knew this to be the case because of his song. While both male and female humpback whales can produce sounds, only the males sing songs. In 1998 researchers first recorded Migaloo singing, thus indicating he is a male. This was confirmed by genetic testing in 2004.

Are there other predominately white humpback whales in the world’s oceans? Yes, PWF researchers have observed whales that are over 90% white off east Australia, and in 2011 observed a newborn nearly all white male calf in the Whitsundays. This whale was named Chalkie and some have called him Migaloo Junior, however is not known to be the offspring of Migaloo – they may or may not be related. Chalkie does have one small black dot on the dorsal surface of his left fluke making him not quite all white meaning he does not have albinism. Recently a video of what appears to be an all white humpback whale feeding in waters off Norway was released on the internet which depicts a whale that looks like Migaloo, until the whale lifts its tail to dive and its fluke pattern is 75% black! There have also been sightings of white orcas, a white right whale and a bottlenose dolphin with albinism throughout the years.

If you would like to support Pacific Whale Foundation by “adopting” Migaloo, visit the Adopt-A-Whale program.

Send us your Migaloo sightings and photos – we'll post them here!

All photographs copyright Pacific Whale Foundation.

The Migaloo mystery: Confusion over rare white whale spotted near Australia

By Jenni Ryall
August 16, 2015

"It is Migaloo."

Those are the words of a leading scientist who is 100% convinced the white whale spotted off the coast of Australia on Aug. 10 is the world famous albino humpback, Migaloo.

Executive director and chief scientist at the Pacific Whale Foundation, Greg Kaufman, who has been studying Migaloo for decades, confirmed to Mashable Australia that the whale spotted off the Gold Coast, Australia earlier this week is the beloved creature.

This claim has been disputed by other whale experts — and only a DNA test, taken in July and with results expected shortly, will conclusively prove it.

Continue reading this article from Mashable here:

Whale debate: Was it Migaloo or not?

August 11, 2015

A MAJESTIC white whale swam past the Gold Coast yesterday but marine experts can’t agree on whether it was the famed Migaloo or an upstart challenger to his title.

The experts spent much of yesterday studying the physical features of the giant marine mammal which appeared to glow as it swam about three nautical miles off Coast beaches.

Despite detailed images of the creature’s colouring, dorsal fin and tail flukes and notches, scientists and whale enthusiasts could only agree to disagree.

Continue reading this article here:

Boaties treated to spectacular sight as southbound Migaloo waves goodbye to Far North

MIGALOO looks to have made his farewell breach for another year after he was ... Hamilton Island boat skipper Jack Sprouster, 27, spotted Migaloo on ...

Migaloo the major drawcard on the Coffs Coast

NOT only the spectacular sea conditions attracted boat users to the water this weekend but also the chance to see the famous white whale Migaloo.

Migaloo slips past Gold Coast

Famous white whale Migaloo has reportedly slipped past the Gold Coast undetected on his annual migration to the Great Barrier Reef.

Migaloo slips past Gold Coast - Gold Coast Bulletin

MIGALOO, the world-famous white humpback whale, has reportedly slipped past the Gold Coast on his annual migration to the Great Barrier Reef.

Rare white whale Migaloo and another white whale migrate north ...

Known by the aboriginal word Migaloo, or "white fella", the acrobatic animal is believed to have spawned at least one all-white offspring after a white ...

Rare white whale Migaloo and another white whale migrate north ...

Migaloo, the world-famous white humpback whale, has reportedly been spotted on the annual mass whale migration to the Great Barrier Reef.

Rare white whale Migaloo and another white whale migrate north ...

Migaloo, the world-famous white humpback whale, has reportedly been spotted on the annual mass whale migration to the Great Barrier Reef.

Migaloo Sighted near Port Douglas(Friday, August 10, 2012)

Migaloo was sighted between Tongue Reef & Low Isles (near Port Douglas) Far North Queensland. Migaloo spent about 30 minutes around Wavelength (a dive boat) & came within 50 meters of the boat. Migaloo was alone, though a mother & calf were sighted in the vicinity later in the day.

Migaloo – the White Whale | Xanthe Rivett

One of the most famous (if not THE most famous) humpback whales is Migaloo – the White Whale. Each year the first sighting of Migaloo is reported from NSW, 'Migaloo has been spotted off the coast' and we in Cairns know they are on the ...
Xanthe Rivett - http://www.xantherivett.com/wordpress/

Migaloo the White Whale | Xanthe Rivett

Migaloo and Bahloo are the very special 'white whales' currently visiting the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland. Visitors to the reef on dive boats, ...

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