Albino Bottlenose Dolphin “Popcorn” still going strong!Saturday, 10th June 2023
By Lloyd Edwards
This is the best news we have heard in ages, as albino animals often succumb to predators far more easily than normal ones. I first spotted the albino calf on the 4th April 2023 and then two months later on 10th June 2023 our operations manager, Jake Keeton, spotted it again! It was swimming with a pod of around 200 individuals at Lloyd’s Bay, St Croix Island, Algoa Bay. The calf was a month old when we first spotted it, so now it must be around three months and in a perfect body condition.
After the first posting of the animal on the 13th April as per this article, we received incredible interest from around the globe. Environmental journalists from Newsweek Magazine, Miami Herald, English press and other Environmental Magazines inundated us with requests to share the images and ask for additional information. It seems as though there are very few decent images of albino bottlenose dolphins available, except for the poor creature that finds itself in captivity in Japan. This horrendous practice of keeping cetaceans in tanks should receive a worldwide ban.
Albinism is a genetic anomaly that causes the total or partial absence of melanin in an animal or plant. It occurs when cells that normally make the pigment melanin, responsible for skin, hair and eye colour, fail to produce it at normal levels or at all. Albinism is a result of a genetic mutation in several genes which makes total albinism extremely rare. It is a recessive trait and will only manifest itself if the mutated genes were received from both parents. Depending on which genes are affected will determine which parts of their bodies are white. These animals exhibit partial albinism, whereas when the entire body is white and the eyes are affected, it is called “true” albinism. The eyes look pink as the blood vessels can be seen in the back of the eye through the transparent iris.
I am leaving for Canada and Alaska today in order to do some marine conservation work in those areas. I'm sure the Raggy Charters team will keep you updated with recent sightings in our wonderful Algoa Bay!
The latest sighting taken by Jake Keeton at Lloyd's Bay, St Croix Island, Algoa Bay
Taken at St Croix Island with the refection of the island on the surface. Nikon D810, ISO 320, f/8 and 1/1250th second.
Popcorn swims next to it's mother, seldom venturing too far away from her protection
Popcorn with the rest of the school in Lloyd's Bay at St Croix Island.