White killer whale sighted in Aleutians

March 7, 2008 at 2:51 PM
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska, March 7 (UPI) -- Scientists studying fish stocks off Alaska got a glimpse of the "icing on the cake" -- a rare white killer whale.

The orca was spotted with its pod about 2 miles off the Kanaga Volcano in the Aleutian chain on Feb. 23, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported. The NOAA research vessel Oscar Dyson was in the area to study stocks of pollock near Steller sea lion haul out sites.

"Despite the typical stormy weather that makes research operations very difficult in the winter, the scientific team on Oscar Dyson has been pulling in a huge amount of planned research data," said Doug DeMaster, director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. "Extraordinary sightings like this white whale are icing on the cake."

Scientists are trying to determine from a comparison of markings if this whale has been seen before. White orcas have been reported in the Aleutians, the Bering Sea and off the Russian coast.

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