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White killer whale spotted near Russia (VIDEO)


Researchers have spotted the world's only known adult all-white killer whale in the Pacific Ocean, off Russia, it was announced on April 23, 2012.



Scientists announced on Monday that they had spotted the world's only known all-white male killer whale, according to CNN.

Named "Iceberg," the orca was seen swimming with a pod of 12 other dolphins according to a blog post by Erich Hoyt, of the Far East Russia Orca Project.

The sighting happened in the Kamchatka peninsula and researchers said Iceberg was seen swimming with its mother and siblings, fully accepted by them, according to the Guardian.

Hoyt told the Guardian, "We've seen three white orcas in the past few years, but this is the very first time we've seen a mature animal that is all white."

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MSNBC noted that researchers have spotted all-white orcas before, but none have been recorded living into adulthood. In a statement, Hoyt said, "In many ways, Iceberg is a symbol of all that is pure, wild and extraordinarily exciting about what is out there in the ocean waiting to be discovered."

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According to the Guardian, Iceberg was last spotted in August 2010, and the researchers hoped to confirm whether it was an albino or not by photographing its eyes. Albino killer whales are more likely to have weak immune systems and die young.

"If we can get a full close-up of the eyes and they are pink, it would confirm Iceberg is an albino, but we don't know much about albinism in orcas," Hoyt said.

Hoyt said Iceberg is a mature adult with a dorsal fine of two meters, which indicates that it must be at least 16 years old, if not older. According to the BBC, orcas mature at 15 years and the males of the species can life to about 50 or 60 years.

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Here is a video of the sighting (via The Huffington Post), with Iceberg's white dorsal fin standing out like a beacon:

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