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Rare white orca spotted near North Vancouver Island

A rare white whale from California was spotted in the waters near North Vancouver Island.

The Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA) says the sighting was reported on Aug. 10 by Prince of Whales captain Scott Turton.

Turton says he was on a tour watching Bigg’s killer whales when he noticed a nearly all-white animal in the water. At first, Turton thought it might have been Tl’uk, a white orca known throughout the Salish Sea.

However, after he took some photos, he said it was clearly not that whale. After reaching out to California Killer Whale Project researcher Alisa Schulman-Janiger, the whale was confirmed to be orca CA216C and her white calf, “Frosty”.

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Frosty was first seen as a newborn by Monterey Bay Whale Watch in August 2019, according to a press release from PWWA. However, Frosty has never been documented in B.C. waters.

They say he was also seen in 2021 in Mexico, marking a large distance travelled.

“The distance between that Mexico sighting in late October 2021 to yesterday’s sighting near Telegraph Cove is more than 2,500 km – quite the trip!,” said Erin Gless, PWWA executive director.

“Prior to yesterday, the last sighting of Frosty was off California’s Farallon Islands on June 26 of this year.”

They say naturalists are not sure what makes Frosty and other orcas white.

The California whales were heading west, away from the area, when they were spotted by Turton.

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