Moby Dick better swim aside, because there is a new white whale captivating animal lovers.
Locals and whale enthusiasts may already be acquainted with the baby whale. His name is Tl’uk, which means “moon” in Coastal Salish, and he is part of a pod that routinely travels by the waters near the Washington city.
The grayish-white Bigg’s killer whale was first spotted in November of last year and is believed to be around a year old.
Erin Gless, the lead naturalist at Island Adventures Whale Watching, an eco touring agency, told CNN the whale is not albino, and that experts are unsure how the calf ended up with its unique coloring.
Gless added that whale experts were initially concerned that the young whale’s coloring was linked to poor health, but, since that calf continues to gain weight and grow, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
This is welcomed news, especially to Washington whale watchers, who have witnessed the population of the southern resident killer whales, native to the North American waters in the northeastern part of Pacific Ocean, drastically decline in recent years.
According to recent data from the Center for Whale Research, the southern resident killer whale population is down to just 73 members and is considered “extremely endangered.”