After 4 years out of sight, a rare white killer whale has been spotted off the coast of Russia.
The whale, known as “Iceberg”, was observed in the north Pacific in the spring of 2012 but hadn’t been seen since.
Iceberg is estimated to be 22 years of age, and lives within a pod of 12 other killer whales.
While he looks completely white, scientists are not completely sure if Iceberg is in fact albino. Experts have pointed out that this is because he has visible pigment in his skin, and the only way to know for sure if he’s albino would to be see if his eyes are pink and unpigmented. If he were a true albino, his genetics would be extremely rare; only about 1 in 10,000 killer whales are born as albinos.
This population of killer whales hunt fish and remain with their mothers and families their entire lives. It appears that despite his striking difference, he is well socialized and fits in well with the rest of the pod.
Image: All About Animals/FB
Scientists remain fascinated with this extraordinary animal and hope to continue studying his behavior for the years to come.