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White Humpback Whale Calf Surfaces Near Australia, Relation To Migaloo Considered

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A white humpback whale calf is getting a lot of attention after making a brief appearance off the coast of North Queensland in Australia, near the Great Barrier Reef.

Many are left wondering if the calf has any relation to the famous white humpback, Migaloo.

Local Wayne Fewings was diving with his family when he said the white calf approach his boat.

"The calf, being a silly pup, when he popped his head out and saw the boat I think that excited his interest and he started to come towards us, but his mother didn't like that too much so she got him away, but we managed to capture all the photos," Fewings told the Townsville Bulletin.

About 14,000 humpback whales migrate between Australia and Antarctica each year. Only between 10 to 15 of those are predominately white, The Australian reports.

Migaloo, the famous all-white whale, was first spotted in 1991. (Naturally, the whale has its own website and Twitter.)

"There is another couple of purely white whales and then there's a very very low number of animals that are a sort of blotchy color," Mark Read, an official with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, told News 24.

Read says there is no way to tell if the calf is related to Migaloo without doing DNA tests, and there are currently no plans to conduct any, News 24 reports. Read said officials would be perfectly content with the calf living in "relative peace and harmony."

The calf's parents could both be dark whales carrying the recessive gene, or one parent could have been white, the Daily Mail reports.

Fewings said the whale near the calf was a dark humpback, according to the Townsville Bulletin.

While this whale appears quite content playing in the waters, many whales are threatened around the world. Whaling is still practiced by some countries, and Japan recently announced it caught 195 whales in the Pacific Ocean "under a research program opposed by activists who call it commercial whaling in disguise," reports the Associated Press.

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