Pink Dolphin Appears in US Lake

Daily News Article   —   Posted on March 6, 2009

Note:  This article is from the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph: 

(from Telegraph.co.uk) – The world’s only pink Bottlenose dolphin, which was discovered in an inland lake in Louisiana, has become such an attraction that conservationists have warned tourists to leave it alone.

Charter boat captain Erik Rue, 42, photographed the animal, which is actually an albino, when he began studying it after the mammal first surfaced in Lake Calcasieu, an inland saltwater estuary north of the Gulf of Mexico.

Capt Rue originally saw the dolphin, which also has reddish eyes, swimming with a pod of four other dolphins, with one appearing to be its mother which never left its side.

He said: “I just happened to see a little pod of dolphins, and I noticed one that was a little lighter.

“It was absolutely stunningly pink.  I had never seen anything like it. It’s the same color throughout the whole body and it looks like it just came out of a paint booth.  [It] appears to be healthy and normal other than its coloration, which is quite beautiful and stunningly pink. …

“I have personally spotted the pink dolphin 40 to 50 times in the time since the original sighting as it has apparently taken up residence with its family in the Calcasieu ship channel.

“As time has passed the [dolphin] has grown and sometimes ventures away from its mother to feed and play but always remains in the vicinity of the pod.

“Surprisingly, it does not appear to be drastically affected by the environment or sunlight as might be expected considering its condition, although it tends to remain below the surface a little more than the others in the pod.”

Regina Asmutis-Silvia, senior biologist with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, said: “I have never seen a dolphin coloured in this way in all my career.

“It is a truly beautiful dolphin but people should be careful, as with any dolphins, to respect it – observe from a distance, limit their time watching, don’t chase or harass it.

“While this animal looks pink, it is an albino which you can notice in the pink eyes.  Albinism is a genetic trait and it unclear as to the type of albinism this animal inherited.”

A close relation of dolphins, the Amazon River Botos, called pink dolphins, live in South America in the Amazon.

Information appearing on telegraph.co.uk is the copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from the Telegraph. Visit the website at telegraph.co.uk

Questions

1. What is unusual about the Bottlenose dolphin that was photographed in an inland lake in Louisiana?

2. The dolphin is an albino. Define albinism.

3. How many times has Captain Rue seen this dolphin?

4. What other type of dolphin has the same coloring?

5. What is the most unusual mammal or fish you have ever seen?


Free Answers — Sign-up here to receive a daily email with answers.

Background

According to marine biologist Dagmar Fertl, this event was only the third reported sighting of an albino bottlenose dolphin in the Gulf of Mexico (going back to 1994), and the fourteenth spotting anywhere in the world (the first coming in 1962). Biologists speculate that, in addition to the rarity of their birth, the scarcity of albino bottlenose dolphins might be due to their having poor eyesight, increased sensitivity to sunlight, and a coloration that provides poor camouflaging, factors which could significantly decrease their chances of reaching maturity. (from snopes.com)

Resources

For additional photos of the dolphin, visit Captain Rue’s website at
calcasieucharters.com/index.cfm?act=imagegallery.cfm&name=Rare+Pink+Dolphin+Photo+Gallery.

Watch a video clip of the dolphin at video.aol.com/video-detail/pink-dolphin-appears-in-us-lake/706305459/?icid=VIDLRV01.