All-white killer whale spotted off Russia
Iceberg, an all white adult male killer whale, swims with his pod off the coast of Russia.
April 23rd, 2012
01:53 PM ET

All-white killer whale spotted off Russia

The world's only known all-white male killer whale has been spotted in the Pacific Ocean off Russia, scientists announced Monday.

The orca, dubbed "Iceberg" by the scientists, was spotted swimming with a pod of 12 others. Iceberg has a 6.5-foot-high dorsal fin and is at least 16 years old, according to a blog post by Erich Hoyt, co-director of the Far East Russia Orca Project.

Check out a photo gallery of albino creatures

The pod was spotted by scientists from universities in Moscow and St. Petersburg in the waters around the Commander Islands off the Kamchatka Peninsula. The area is part of a marine reserve.

Hoyt wrote that two other white orcas have been seen in area, but that Iceberg is the first fully grown male.

“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,” Hoyt said in a statement.

Hoyt wrote that researchers will return to the waters where Iceberg was spotted this summer in hopes of finding the creature again and determining whether he is an albino or if there is some other reason for his white color.

The researchers hope the presence of Iceberg will help efforts to expand marine reserves along the Russian coast, they said in the statement.

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Filed under: Animals • Russia • Whales
soundoff (197 Responses)
  1. gramt

    i think its fake, doesn't look real , same size...

    April 24, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  2. Logan

    To the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee!

    April 24, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • white whale watcher

      its not moby dick, just an Indian legend the orca whale was originally a white wolf that transformed, awesome!

      April 24, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. christophoer reising

    iv seen a white killer whale before have you it will eat you:(

    April 24, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. Nadir

    That is fantastic news. I have been at Commandor islands, spotted killer whales, but these were all black. I would dream to see and take pictures of Iceberg one!)

    April 24, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  5. Beautiful Sight

    Can't we just look at the pure beauty of the picture and leave race out of it? It is magnificient.

    April 24, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  6. Kitty

    Oh wow a white killer whale is a amazing discovery and if it turns out to be a albino it will be one of the very few that make it to adulthood in the wild. If it is due to some other genetic malfunction it does not change one thing.
    Overall a fascinating find, and a beautiful creature.

    April 24, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  7. Lanfear

    Albino whale... that's cool!

    April 24, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. ColdCity

    LOL, why is it "pure", because its "White"????

    April 24, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • ensense

      don't worry it is not a good trait for a orca to have. It is a anomaly and actually a disease condition similar to Vitiligo. No matter how much cnn tries to trumpet it, it is not going to catch on.

      April 24, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  9. jgn

    How could you people possibly relate race to a whale? Do you see any evidence of this white whale being discriminated against by the black and white whales he swims with? That's because whales are so much more intelligent than humans!

    April 24, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • sdkfj

      right...whales are much more intelligent than humans. that's why they are sitting on their computers commenting on this story right now

      April 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Crazy Lola

      jgn: Thank you, isn't that the truth? He could be purple with green polkadots and be loved and accepted by his pod. It is what it is. So cool.

      April 24, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Karen

    Absolutely beautiful and amazing! God does great work!!?

    April 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Misha

      Karen – While albino animals are rare and beautiful to us humans, albinism can be a curse to the animals themselves. Being all white prevents prey animals from blending in with their environment, making it easier to get picked off by predators (Thankfully orcas have few natural predators besides humans). It also makes them much more sensitive to UV rays, which is especially bad for animals like Green Iguanas which rely on vitamin D from the sun to absorb calcium.

      If God indeed made this white whale (and other albino creatures) as a "great work" of his, he is actually doing a disservice to the animal.

      April 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      I don't understand why people feel like they have to jump down the throat of everyone who makes a comment about God. I agree with Karen God does do great work.

      As for the whale I don't think we should just assume he's an Albino, maybe his mother was a Beluga.

      April 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Man

      This is cruety to an animal. PAINTED! What will Russia not do to be relevant.

      April 25, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Randy Gire

      Karen, you are right, God did create this beautiful all white creature. Misha is just going to have to deal with the fact that as smart as he is, he will never be as smart as He is. We who believe see that only a God as great as our God could create a world so wonderful.

      April 25, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Spaz

      Nature does amazing work, not your Santa-in-the-sky myth.

      April 25, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Genki Fuzz

    Albino might be beautiful, pure (like in comparison to freshly fallen snow), but in the nature, as a few remarked, it is a curse: be it in humans (target of jokes and various physical problems) or in animals. Maybe whales are up on the I.Q. scale and are able (unlike humans) to ignore the aberration and let the albino live for 16 years. But, like a Mid-West rancher told me – the white horse will be shunned by the dark ones.. Or as I read, an albino penguin will be killed by the non-albinos. Beautiful for the "normal" ones, but for the albino mostly painful...

    April 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. LaRue

    So... wait... is it actually albino, or is it just all white, with no genetic albinism?

    April 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • WISDOM357

      Excellent question.

      April 25, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  13. Israel

    Reblogged this on Salaye (Explain) !.

    April 24, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Michael

    It is beautiful picture.

    April 24, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Martin J Perry

    Nobody tell Ahab, OK? He goes nuts over white whales.

    April 24, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
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