Just who is Migaloo?
Have you seen Migaloo? (Trust us, you'd know if you have) … He’s Australia’s most well-known humpback whale and when first sighted, was thought to be the only known all-white whale in the world! The elusive headline grabber has baffled and amazed scientists, avid photographers and whale lovers alike since he was first spotted in 1991.
Here are our top 10 facts on why Migaloo is Australia’s favourite humpback:
1. He might not actually be albino
Despite being widely labelled as albino, this has not yet been proven. He is currently known as a hypo-pigmented humpback whale.
2. We’re pretty sure he’s a dad
An all-white humpback whale calf was spotted in 2011. It’s very likely this is Migaloo’s offspring, and as a result this little one has been named Migaloo Junior (nicknamed MJ for short).
3. He’s seen some tough times
Unfortunately poor Migaloo was struck by a trimaran in 2003, which has left him with distinctive scaring on his back.
4. His name suits him well
Migaloo loosely means ‘white fella’ in Aboriginal dialect.
5. He’s definitely a ‘he’
Not only does he sing like a male, but DNA testing of dead skin cells (taken from the water after breaching) has confirmed that Migaloo is indeed of the male gender.
6. He’s (almost) one of a kind
Like other celebrities, Migaloo is part of an exclusive gang. In fact, there are only four reported white whales in the world, one of whom is MJ (Migaloo’s offspring).
7. He’s heading into his 30s
Migaloo was first observed in 1991, and it’s now thought he’s around 28-30 years old.
8. He has special celebrity privileges
Because Migaloo is such a unique whale, he has been given ‘special status’ in both NSW and Queensland to protect him from harassment, with hefty fines for people getting too close.
9. He’s taught us a lot about whale migration
Migaloo certainly stands out in a crowd. As a result, he’s helped scientists better understand whale migration patterns off the Australian coast.
10. He causes a splash wherever he goes
The excitement, discussion and intrigue that accompanies a sighting of Migaloo is without fail. Just check out the Wild About Whales Facebook page when he’s spotted and you’ll see what we mean.
Migaloo really is a show of Mother Nature at her brilliant best. If you’ve seen Migaloo, we’d love to know! Keep track of whale sightings along the NSW coast using the Wild About Whales mobile app. Download it for free and tell us about your own whale sighting.