The rare grey-white orca calf that belongs to a pod of T46B Bigg’s transient killer whale family was spotted recently near Sooke.
The highly recognizable calf, named Tl’uk (T046B1B), made an appearance with its family on Wednesday south east of Sooke, and was captured on camera by Paul Pudwell and shared by Sooke Coastal Exploration.
Tl’uk, which means ‘moon’ in Coast Salish, is about a year old and was first spotted in November 2018 near Nanaimo.
He is not an albino calf as he has a distinct grey-white colour. Researches say he either has leucism which causes loss of pigmentation in any cell or suffers from Chediak-Higashi Syndrome.
While the former has no association with serious health risks, Chediak-Higashi Syndrome may signal several serious health conditions and a short lifespan.