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First all-white adult orca observed off Russian coast

April 24, 2012

A group of students and scientists embarked on a research cruise off the coast of eastern Russia earlier this week when they spotted something never seen before, an all-white adult orca whale. Scientists will further study this rare creature, which was named Iceberg, to determine if it is an albino, BBC News reports. The whale appears to co-exist normally with its pod.

"We've seen another two white orcas in Russia but they've been young, whereas this is the first time we've seen a mature adult," lead researcher Eric Hoyt told the BBC. "It has the full two-meter-high dorsal fin of a mature male, which means it's at least 16 years old - in fact, the fin is somewhat ragged, so it might be a bit older."

Hoyt is also the co-director of the Far East Russia Orca Project (FEROP), which is studying the orcas living off the coast of Kamchatkan. These whales, according to the AFP, are threatened by human interference such as overfishing and oil exploration.

Those who want to find out more about this white whale, or just make Moby Dick jokes about it with their friends can make calls to Russia with phone cards.

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