Migaloo

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
Australia
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:
http://mashable.com/2015/08/16/migaloo-the-mystery-whale/


Whale debate: Was it Migaloo or not?

NICHOLAS MCELROY
GOLD COAST BULLETIN
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:
http://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/lifestyle/pets-and-wildlife/whale-debate-was-it-migaloo-or-not/story-fnk74alk-1227477966061



Migaloo the white whale skips Hervey Bay and surfaces off Cairns

Migaloo, the famous white humpback, has strangly been missed on his journey up the East Coast of Australia this year. Migaloo, meaning "white fella", ...

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Help SAVE & Protect Migaloo today by registering your interest in becoming an Official Member of The White Whale Research Centre. ...

www.ubervu.com/conversations/www.migaloo.com.au/

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Because Migaloo is such a unique whale he has special Queensland and Commonwealth Government legislation that is enacted each year to protect him from harassment. For this reason all vessels including Jet-skis are prohibited from ...


Lady Helsie's Happenings - http://helsieshappenings.blogspot.com/

Migaloo the white humpback - ScubaBoard

The first sighting of Migaloo in Queensland last year was off the Gold Coast on July 1st last year. For anyone who has seen this magestic animal in.


ScubaBoard - http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/

Whale watchers warned on Migaloo's safety

The maximum penalty for getting too close to Migaloo is $16500. ... The first Queensland sighting of Migaloo last year was off the Gold Coast on July 1, ...

Ministerial Media Statements

GIVE MIGALOO AND OTHER WHALES SPACE TO SWIM ... “Getting too close to Migaloo and other whales could cost boaties big fines, as well as risking their safety ...

www.cabinet.qld.gov.au/mms/StatementDisplaySingle.aspx?id...

Searching for Migaloo the White Whale - Photo Gallery | Gold Coast ...

Searching for Migaloo the White Whale Photo Gallery. whales | With Whale watching season in full swing boaties are asked to leave a 100m space between them ...

tools.goldcoast.com.au/photo.../photo-gallery-view.php?...1

Operation Migaloo 200708 Sea Shepherd Whale Defense Green2Cool

Antarctic Whale Defense CampaignOperation Migaloo 07-08Odyssey For The Whales: 20000 Miles, 68 Crew Members, And 83 Days At Sea For The Whales In The Southe ...

The Great White Whale – Not Moby but Migaloo Old Salt Blog – a ...

In 1991 a white humpback whale was sighted off the coast of Australia It was estimated to be three or four years old and was christened Migaloo meaningwhite ...

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