Incredible Footage Captures an Extremely Rare Animal Only Seen Maybe 15 times in 100 Years!

It is so rare, it has happened a mere 15 times in 100 years: the sighting of a white harbor porpoise.

On June 8, the porpoise was spotted near Denmark in the Baltic Sea by a layperson who caught the animal on camera. “This is an extraordinary sighting,” says Fabian Ritter, marine biologist with the organization Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), which received the incredible footage.

And not only was the sighting extraordinary in itself, says Ritter, but the marine mammal’s behavior was equally exceptional.

“This animal appears to be playing with the vessel, swims alongside it and rides the bow wave. That is quite unusual behavior for a harbor porpoise,” says Ritter. “I’m not saying it’s impossible,” he adds, “but they are usually a wary species, and not especially interested in vessels. This is quite curious behavior.”

YouTube/Peter Hofmann

Darker-colored harbor porpoises are not uncommon in the region, and are listed as “least concern” by IUCN. One (separate) Baltic Sea subpopulation is listed as critically endangered.

White harbor porpoises, however, are almost never seen. In fact, a brief but fascinating study of these sightings notes that white harbor porpoises have been spotted in 1911, 1928, 1929,1937 and 1988 in Ukraine, Scotland, Ireland and Denmark. In 2007, a white porpoise was spotted underneath San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

Ritter explains that the white color of this harbor porpoise is due to leucism. It is genetic, marked by a partial lack of skin pigmentation. Albinism is a more extreme version of the condition.

Although it is an unusual phenomenon, explains Ritter, there are reports of other white marine mammals, including an orca off the coast of Russia and a famous humpback whale named Migaloo.

Migaloo the white humpback while ( Youtube/Chris Jones)

Although the striking white color of a marine mammal can translate into great enthusiasm from the public, having leucism or albinism can be problematic because the animal isn’t able to camouflage in defense against predators. Leucism can also cause harm to vision, hearing or skin, says Regina Asmutis-Silvia, executive director for WDC in North America.

But there are outside threats to the white harbor porpoise in the video, including gray seals, who want to eat them. Other threats are ever-present toxins, which can cause problems for the small-toothed porpoise’s immune system and liver, and gillnets — which are used in the fishing industry. The porpoises get caught in the nets and drown, explains Asmutis-Silvia.

But this beautiful porpoise has outlived all the threats so far, notes Ritter. “It appears that this is an adult. And although it’s susceptible and more visible, it has made it until adulthood without being predated.”

Let’s hope things stay that way.

Watch the full video of the rarely seen white harbor porpoise here:

See footage of Migaloo the white whale here:

Source: US Whales and Dolphins Org

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For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:- 2 Peter 3:5 (KJV).

But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: 8Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. 9Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? Job 12:7-9 (KJV).

So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts- Psalm 104:25 (KJV).

And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good- Genesis 1:21 (KJV).

And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered- Genesis 9:2 (KJV).


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