Albino whale in Mexico - level 3

Albino whale in Mexico - level 3

14-03-2016 15:00

Meet Gallon of Milk! She’s a rare albino whale, named because of her bright white skin.

Marine biologists from Mexico’s National Commission of Natural Protected Areas are currently doing their annual census of grey whales, to which family she belongs, off of Mexico’s Pacific coast. They first spotted her in the 2008 to 2009 season, when she was a juvenile. That’s when she first picked up that name of Gallon of Milk.

This time, she was swimming with her calf, who is normal-coloured.

Albinism is a genetic disorder caused by faulty genes which results in either the reduction or complete absence of the pigment melanin. It’s been recorded in different mammals, birds and reptiles, but there are very few documented records of albino marine mammals.

For the last 20 years, the annual migration of grey whales off the coast of Mexico have been monitored during mating and reproduction season. By monitoring the activities of the whales, the biologists have documented the successful recovery of the grey whale population, ensuring the survival of the species for future generations.

Difficult words: juvenile (a young animal or a young person), albinism (the issue of being an albino), genetic (relating to genes, the tiny things inside you that make you look and act the way that you do), disorder (a physical problem), faulty (problematic), pigment (a colour), melanin (the dark colour in skin and hair), document (to record), ensure (to make sure), species (a type of animal).


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