Summer Whites — Six Special Animals

Top: white bison, humpback, flamingo chick. Bottom: white camel, orca,  hummingbird

1. Yellow Medicine Dancing Boy

White bison calf, Mohawk Bison Farm, Goshen, Connecticut, July 18, 2012/Mike Groll, AP, Houston Chronicle

This white bison calf (not an albino) was born on June 16 at Mohawk Bison Farm in Goshen, Connecticut and named during a ceremony attended by members of the Oglala Lakota, Mohawk, Seneca, Cayuga and Nanticoke tribes on July 28. White bisons are extremely rare — an estimated one out of every ten million births — and are revered as a symbol of hope and unity by many Native American peoples.

Learn more here, here and here. Watch the AP video below.

2. White Camel Calf

Male dromedary calf and mother, Bronx Zoo, New York, May 2, 2012/Julie Larsen Maher, Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx Zoo

This young male dromedary (one hump) camel doesn’t seem to have a name yet. He was born at New York’s Bronx Zoo on March 16, 2012 and weighed 80 pounds at birth. He’s the first camel born at the zoo since 1983 and the only white one (an unusual but normal color variation) in the zoo’s heard of 12.

Learn more here, here and here.

3. Iceberg

Iceberg, the white orca, with pod members off the Commander Islands, Eastern Russia, April, 2012/E. Lazareva, Far East Russia Orca Project (FEROP), National Geographic

Researchers don’t know if this white killer whale (orca) is an albino or not, but they do know that albinos often have weak immune systems and usually die young whereas this male — 25 feet long with a six-foot-tall dorsal — is already 16 or 17 years old. Dubbed Iceberg, he was first spotted in 2010. Researcher Erich Hoyt and colleagues at the Far East Russia Orca Project (FEROP) saw him again this past April while conducting a census of this orca population, which is now being targeted for captures by the marine park industry.

Learn more here, here, here, here and here. See more photos here. To watch an April 26 “Today Show” report on Iceberg, click here and scroll down. See raw and enhanced footage of Iceberg swimming with pod members below.

4. Migaloo

Migaloo with humpback companion and dolphin escort off Coffs Harbour, Australia, June, 2012/Brisbane TimesThis white humpback is believed to be an albino, and yet, like Iceberg, he’s still around despite a coloration that makes him highly visible to predators. His name means “white fella” in aboriginal Australian, and he’s been giving whale-watchers a thrill ever since he was first spotted off Australia’s east coast in 1991. Last seen in 2009, he reappeared in June 2012, migrating north with other humpbacks toward the Great Barrier Reef, and was seen again near Port Douglas on August 10. Word is there’s a white mini-Migaloo out there now, too.

Learn more here and here. See more photos of Migaloo here. Watch July 2007 video footage of Migaloo swimming off the Great Barrier Reef below.

5. White Hummingbird

Albino ruby-throated hummingbird visits a butterfly bush, Staunton, Virginia, August 2012/The Shank Family, Nature Friend Magazine

This little beauty is a true albino. See the red eyes? The image is one of many taken by Kevin Shank and his sons Shaphan and Marlin in August 2011. As Kevin explains in an article in the Shanks’ family-owned Nature Friend Magazine, he learned through a local birders’ listserv that this albino ruby-throated hummingbird was visiting a Staunton, Virginia family’s backyard about 30 miles from the Shanks’ home in Dayton. He and the boys paid a friendly visit, set up their cameras and got lucky.

See more of their beautiful photos here. Learn more about how they captured these images here. Special thanks to Elliott Unterberg for bringing these images to GNN’s attention .

6. Baby Flamingo

Caribbean flamingo chick, Bronx Zoo, New York, August 15, 2012/Julie Larson Maher, Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx Zoo

There’s nothing special about this baby Caribbean flamingo’s color. All Caribbean flamingo chicks are white. But the footage of this sweetie emerging from under his mom at the Bronx Zoo and testing his legs for the first time is too precious not to share. Enjoy.

• To see more photos of unusual white animals, click here.

• To view Nat Geo photographer Paul Nicklen’s images of the white spirit bears of British Columbia, click here.

Happy Last Days of Summer 2012

More soon

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One Response to Summer Whites — Six Special Animals

  1. Annette says:

    They are beautiful.

    Your Nature News is such a wonderful, peacefull pick up to read.

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