Migaloo or white whale
A carcass of a white whale washed up on Victoria’s remote eastern coast. This raises fears that it might be Migaloo, the famous albino whale Migaloo which has not been seen in Australian waters in two years.
The carcass was found on the beach next to Mallacoota, a popular tourist destination. It appears to be almost intact.
A spokesperson for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning confirmed that a carcass believed to be from a humpback Whale washed ashore. He reminded beachgoers that it was illegal to interfere with the remains which were found by abalone fishermen.
After hearing that a carcass had been found by divers, Mallacoota resident Tyler James got on board a boat to go to the beach.
He said, “It’s quite wild.” “I was shocked that it was albino. “Then I thought of the Migaloo stories and decided to share them with others.”
Dr Vanessa Pirotta is a marine scientist at Macquarie University. She said that a pod Migaloo, which had been seen swimming in the past, was recently sighted off Port Macquarie. She cautioned that it was not yet possible to determine if the Mallacoota stranded whale was an albino humpback.
She said, “Obviously, people will instantly think that a Migaloo is a white whale washed up on sand beaches.” “But, it’s important to warn that we don’t know yet who this individual is.”
Pirotta stated that other albino whales have been known to swim along the Australian coast. The skin of dead whales can be weathered by saltwater, which turns it a whitish color when they wash up on the coast.
Migaloo is believed to be a white fella, meaning “white fella” or “baby” in many Indigenous languages. It was first sighted off the coast of Byron Bay in 1991. However, Migaloo was last seen off Australia in June 2020. He is now in his mid-30s.
Pirotta stated that the best way to identify a whale is to examine its tail and perform genetic analysis on the carcass. Then, compare the results to those taken from Migaloo. To determine the cause of death, scientists can opt for a whale necropsy or animal autopsy.
She said, “If necropsy is possible, this would be a huge contribution in science.” Scientists will be able collect samples, take data and learn more about the animal’s death, which could help to infer information about our marine environment.
Pirotta stated that this could indicate the presence of contaminants in the water.
Potential health issues or the effects of human activity in this area.
Officers and researchers who want to transport or collect samples from the carcass may face difficulties due to its remote location. Access to the area is by boat or on foot.
The whale season in Australia is when large numbers migrate from Antarctica to the Great Barrier Reef.
Pirotta stated that whale stranding is not common, but it was quite common during migration season because of the sheer number and speed of whales traveling up and down the coast.
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