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Big Blue Conservation - A White Spectacle!

A rare white humpback whale calf has been spotted near Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Believed to be just a few weeks old, the 12ft calf was seen at Cid Harbour in the famous reef's Whitsunday Islands area by a family out in the bay in their boat. White whales are highly unusual with only 10 to 15 believed to exist among up to 15,000 living along Australia's east coast. Wayne Fewings was diving in the harbour when he spotted the animal surfacing and described the sighting as a 'once in a lifetime experience'. He said: 'We were just drifting when I noticed the smaller whale in the pod was white. I couldn't believe my eyes. 'Then the white calf approached my boat, seeming to want to check us out. I was just so amazed at seeing this animal, it made me think how truly astounding the Great Barrier Reef is.' The calf's parents may both have been dark humpbacks carrying a recessive white whale gene, but Great Barrier Reef official Mark Read said one may also have been white themselves.


     
That raises speculation that the calf could be the offspring of famous white humpback Migaloo. Migaloo - the name is an Aboriginal word meaning 'whitefella' - is the world's best-known all-white humpback and has built up a loyal following in Australia since first being sighted in 1991. Humpback whales are currently on their southern migration, and the baby will be feeding heavily from its mother as it lays down fat stores for the 'cold Antarctic waters'. Its sex was unknown and Mr Read said there were no plans to give the young mammal a name of its own. Australia's east coast humpback population has been brought back from the brink of extinction following the halting of whaling in the early 1960s.