Just like with old collectibles, animals born with a particularly interesting imperfection tend to be the most valued. I’m referring of course to stuff like heterochromia or albinism, which despite the fact that they are genetic conditions, they tend to make the discovery of such a specimen a rare occasion.
Add a stroke of luck in the form of an uncanny coincidence, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for your five minutes of internet fame. During this year’s whale census off the coast of Mexico, shiny albino gray whale Gallon of Milk made an appearance. As expected, people went wild.
Gallon of Milk
First observed in 2009, the albino gray whale is one of the rarest creatures in the world. The sea mammal’s bright white color is given by its lack of melanin, also making it extremely special. While albinism is often encountered in land or flying animals, the mutation is one of the rarest for sea creatures.
When the shiny female was observed for the first time during the 2008-2009 whale census, it was part of a large pack of gray whales. Well, as large as it could be seeing as the creatures are almost endangered. Still, it was bound to get special attention thanks to its uniqueness, although the name it was given, Gallon of Milk, could go for some improvements.
The National Commission of Natural Protected Areas observed it this time around, even posting a video on Facebook of the mammal swimming alongside her calf. Even though it would have been a long shot, the conservationist officials tracking the creatures were disappointed that Gallon of Milk’s offspring wasn’t also albino.
According to the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), a total of 2,211 gray whales showed themselves this year during the census, appearing in the Ojo de Liebre lagoon belonging to the El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve, which officials have been monitoring for two decades.
About 1,004 calves were born in Mexico, with the majestic creatures being able to live up to 70 years, and grow up to 40 tons and 50 feet in length. The gray whale populations were slaughtered by commercial whaling, only leaving two larger groups alive.
One of these groups is the 2,211 large group in the eastern Pacific, while the second is much smaller, numbering at only about 130. But 130 is still better than none, as they were believed to have been wiped out for a few years.
Image source: YouTube