No, she’s not Migaloo!
The public felt relieved upon learning that the carcass of a white humpback whale in Mallacoota was not the beloved and famous Migaloo.
They are both white, but the dead humpback is a young female.
Migaloo is a male albino humpback whale that was discovered in 1991, while he was traveling through Byron Bay. Immediately, he became a favorite, and many people have been waiting to see him during the humpbacks’ yearly migration.
But in recent times, Migaloo has not been spotted with the pods, and many are worried about him, although some experts say that not seeing Migaloo for some time is just normal, since he could be swimming farther offshore.
And when a dead, white humpback was washed ashore in Mallacoota, fear gripped the public.
But experts assured them that the carcass was not Migaloo since it’s a female and younger. It is also possible that her whiteness was caused by the loss of pigmentation after floating for days out in the sea.
As to the cause of her death, adjunct fellow at the Southern Cross University Wally Franklin explained that there is a wide range of reasons why young humpbacks die.
A ship could have struck her and the whale sustained serious injuries. It is also possible that she died from parasites or starvation.
Early separation from its mother can also cause a young humpback to die, although the carcass appeared a little older already to suffer from such a situation.
But Macquarie University wildlife scientist Vanessa Pirotta was still glad about the beaching of the carcass.
“A stranded whale like this is a huge contribution to science … because often we don’t have a whale wash up in an area that can be accessible to science,” said Pirotta.
At least, even in death, the young humpback whale is able to contribute something to the world through science.