Environmental News

Pink Dolphin ‘Pinky’ Becomes A Local Celebrity In Louisiana

A pink dolphin. Yes, you heard that right.

A rare pink bottlenose dolphin was spotted recently by locals in the waters off of Louisiana.

The dolphin, now known as ‘Pinky’ to those who have seen her, was actually first spotted eight years ago but has been caught on camera several times in the past couple weeks. Photos and videos of the animal have been posted on social media, inspiring awe to many who were unaware that a dolphin could even be such a color.

Captain Erik Rue of Lake Charles, Louisiana stated to ABC News that he and his crew saw Pinky for the first time in the summer of 2007. He believes he was the first to see the dolphin and is convinced he is the first to have taken any photographs of her.

Since then, the dolphin has become somewhat of “a local celebrity” according to Rue. People wanting to see the pink dolphin with their own eyes have actually booked trips on Rue’s Calcasieu Charter Service in hopes that they might get to take a snapshot of the mysterious pink dolphin.

His charter service even has a section dedicated to Pinky on its website where you can see pictures they have taken of her.

National Geographic published an article recently on Pinky, and in it they attribute her pink color to albinism. Though it hasn’t been confirmed, if Pinky is indeed an albino, she may be experiencing health problems, particularly with protection against the sun’s rays and with her eyesight.

But if Pinky is indeed sick, she doesn’t appear to be showing any signs.

Just two weeks ago, Captain Rue spotted the dolphin mating, and he said that he’s taken pictures of her mating in the past. “I’ve learned a lot since I’ve spend a lot of time following her around,” said Rue.

I’ve learned a lot since I’ve spend a lot of time following her around.

Rue added that he doesn’t think Pinky is an albino, suggesting that the dolphin would be white if she suffered from the genetic defect.

But National Geographic seems to disagree, stating that some albinos have a reduced level of pigment and not necessarily none at all.  Pinky has “two telltale signs of albinism,” according to genetic scientist Greg Barsh from the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Alabama.

For one, Pinky has red eyes.

Even humans with albinism can have red eyes due to reduced pigment in the iris of the eye, which in turn causes blood vessels in the back of the eye to reflect red light through the pale iris, according to the Vision for Tomorrow Foundation.

Pinky also has blood vessels showing through her skin, which is another sign that she is an albino.

The World Wildlife Fund noted that although they are unsure of Pinky’s species, another species of Dolphin in the wild is naturally pink. It is called the Amazon River dolphin can be found in freshwater habitats in South America.

In January, another rare albino dolphin was spotted off the coast of Florida.

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