Return of Migaloo, the White Humpback — Concerns Over Skin Cancer

Photo: Ray Alley

Photo: Ray Alley

Migaloo, the white humpback whale has been spotted making his way up Australia’s Queensland’s coast on his annual migration to warmer waters. Migaloo was first seen in 1991 and is believed to be around 28 years old and is one of a few albino humpback whales ever observed. This is the 23rd consecutive year Migaloo has been spotted on the Australia’s eastern seaboard.  As whales go, Migiloo is something of a rock star. Fans track his yearly migration. He has several websites devoted to him and as well as a Twitter account and multiple Facebook pages.

This year there is increased concern that Migaloo’s albinism may have made the humpback susceptible to skin cancer. Red marks have been observed on the humpback whale’s dorsal fin, causing worries that Migaloo may have an early stage cancer. On the other hand, the redness may be the result of an abrasion. Professor Peter Harrison from Southern Cross University noted, “It will be very interesting to see whether or not this redness has disappeared, or whether or not it has obviously become more inflamed which would indicate some sort of infection and I guess there is a possibility that it might be early stages of cancer as well. Most people are curious as to whether or not this might be a preliminary form of skin cancer, but at this stage of course we simply can’t tell.

Fears Migaloo’s white skin has left the albino humpback whale with skin cancer

Migaloo makes waves off Sydney

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