A rare white orca calf was spotted by a whale watching group over the past weekend in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The highly recognizable calf made an appearance amongst its pod of T46B Bigg’s transient killer whale family and according to Island Adventures Whale Watching, appeared to be feeding on a marine mammal.
Identified as T46B1B or Tl’uk (which means ‘moon’ in Coast Salish), the orca calf is about a year old and was first spotted in November 2018 near Nanaimo.
Tl’uk 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.