On 28th June, 1991, an all-white humpback whale was photographed passing Byron Bay, Australia’s most easterly point. The whale was named “Migaloo” which is the name some Australian Aboriginal communities use to describe a White Fella. At the time, this sighting was the only documented record of an all-white humpback whale in the world.
Migaloo is thought to have been born in 1986.
In 1994 researchers from (Southern Cross University Whale Research Centre) were able to collect sloughed skin samples from Migaloo. When Migaloo breached, small pieces of skin fell off him into the water and were collected, then analysed for DNA. From this it was confirmed that Migaloo is definitely a male. A genetic fingerprint for Migaloo was also obtained, allowing researchers to check for relatives of Migaloo amongst the other whales they have samples from, as well as to check whether Migaloo is the father if they obtain skin from a calf.
Sightings of Migaloo provide valuable insight into the migratory behavior of humpback whales along the east coast of Australia.
Migaloo’s distinctive coloring turned him into a star. His annual migration up the east coast of Australia is eagerly anticipated each year.
The White Whale Research Centre was founded by Oskar Peterson in order to help educate the general public about this unique whale via this website. You are welcome to contribute with your time or expertise to improving this website for the benefit of Marine environmental education.