Rare Albino Dolphin Gives Birth to Lovely Pink Calf

Rare Albino Dolphin Gives Birth to Lovely Pink Calf

I can’t be the only one who didn’t know dolphins could be completely pink. Could albinism get any more adorable? Dolphins are some of the sweetest and friendliest animals in nature. Many of us grew up reading stories of dolphins rescuing drowning sailors in turbulent seas. Dolphins generally make people feel positive emotions of love and light, and this pink-colored mama and her baby are no different.

The albino bottle-nose dolphin named Pinky became famous in 2007 when she was captured swimming with her mother, who’d been a dark-colored dolphin. [1] Pinky had just been a calf then. According to Captain Erik Rue who captured her the first time, he continued to see her recurrently following that appearance, and she was quite the popular girl. Pinky could often be seen in the company of other dolphins where she’d stand out due to her unusual candy-floss color, and she’s also been described as “very sexually active.”

Pinky’s skin color is due to a mutation that affects the genes responsible for melanin production – albinism. While her parents may have been typical black-colored dolphins, each carried a single copy of the mutated gene that combined to give Pinky her unique color. According to Greg Barsh, a geneticist who studies color variations, Pinky is one of the few albino animals thriving unaided in the wild. [2] Most of them are found in laboratories where they are protected due to the conditions that often arise from albinism such as skin sensitivity and poor vision. They are not as adaptable as albino humans. 

Pinky and her mother in 2007

As pink as her mother

A 2017 footage posted by Thomas Adams on Facebook showed a clip of Pinky in the Calcasieu River in Louisiana. This time, she was swimming with another pink calf and locals believe she’s had her own baby. [3]

The appearance of Pinky’s calf with the same 100% pink coloration probably means that dolphin albinism is genetic and can be passed down from parent to young. Pinky most likely mated with a male who was typically dark-colored, and yet her calf turned out to look exactly like her. This is something to be excited about, and hopefully, there’ll be more adorable albino dolphins out there in the future. They are a sight for sore eyes. 

Surprisingly, it does not appear to be drastically affected by the environment or sunlight as might be expected considering its condition, although it tends to remain below the surface a little more than the others in the pod,” Mr. Rue said to KATC. [3]

He added: “I feel very fortunate to have seen this incredible mammal and lucky to be able to work and live in the area where such a fantastic creature frequents. Our guests are always thrilled at the opportunity to spot such a unique mammal and we look forward to it being around for some time to come.”

Not much is known about the statistics of albino dolphins out in the wild, but they are believed to be very rare and possibly endangered. Pinky has been severally misreported to be an Amazon River Dolphin, a species of toothed whales also known as the Pink River Dolphin. They are found mostly in South America’s waters and have pinkish-grey colorations on some parts of their bodies, mostly their bellies, tails, and fins. This species is classified as “endangered to vulnerable’ by the IUCN with only a few tens of thousands left in the wild. However, they are not albinos as their coloration is unique to the entire species. They start off with gray color as young dolphins and as they approach adulthood, the pink coloration would begin to show. In rare cases, the entire body of the dolphin transforms into the new color with tiny patches of grey.

References

  1. Rare pink bottlenose dolphin surfaces in Louisiana lake.” The Guardian. Caters News Agency. Retrieved  June 12, 2020.
  2. How Did Rare Pink Dolphin Get Its Color?National Geographic. Rachel Becker. Retrieved  June 12, 2020.
  3. “‘Pinky’ the dolphin spotted with second pink dolphin. KATC. Brian Richard. Retrieved  June 12, 2020.
  4. Amazon River Dolphin.” World Wild Life. Retrieved  June 12, 2020.
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