Southwest Louisiana–A pink Atlantic bottlenose dolphin has stolen hearts and been the subject of many social media discussions along the Gulf Coast dating back to the mid 2000s.
I have personally shot still photos of the creature and captured it on video along with writing about it here at The Wildlife Journalist®.
You can see a video captured by a reader in 2016 in the Gulf off of Louisiana here.
You can view my 2013 video filmed in the ship channel near Cameron, La. (Lake Calcasieu area) here.
A recent ground-breaking video captured by Capt. Thomas Adams gives proof of what many have suspected-there is more than one pink dolphin in the area.
On Aug. 17 he captured two pink dolphins jumping in front of a ship in the Calcasieu Ship Channel.
Capt. Adams has been gracious enough to allow us to use the video here.
There have been rumors of multiple pink dolphins in the Calcasieu system but this is the first concrete proof I have seen.
According to Heidi Whitehead with the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, at least one pink dolphin has been observed for more than a decade.
We initially began receiving reports of the “pink” bottlenose in Calcasieu in 2007 and we worked with NOAA to educate people and reduce vessel traffic around the animal for the protection of the animal because there were so many wanting to get out to see it. There was also a pink dolphin observed in the Houston ship channel near Bolivar several years ago but it has not been confirmed whether or not this was a different animal than the Calcasieu one as we have seen evidence from our photo-ID work that dolphins travel between Galveston and Louisiana.
Whitehead earlier this year provided us with a fact sheet from NOAA on pink and white dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico and it includes accounts from other locations.
The first (report) was reported during the summer of 1994 in Little Lake near New Orleans, Louisiana. The all-white dolphin was spotted in a group of 4-5 individuals for 20 to 30 minutes and never seen again. In September 2003, another all white dolphin calf was first observed in a group of more than 40 dolphins south of Galveston, Texas. It was re-sighted several times in the same vicinity through August 2004 (Fertl et al., 1999; Fertl et al., 2004).
This is what NOAA has to say about “Pinky” from the Lake Calcasieu area.
Although the dolphin is often referred to as a “pink” dolphin because of its pink coloration, it is considered an albino. The dolphin’s mother is not albino and has the gray coloring typical of coastal bottlenose dolphins. Dolphin calves are typically born dark gray in color.
According to NOAA there have been “white” dolphin sightings along the eastern seaboard of the United States.
Other “white” dolphins have been sighted in the Southeast U.S. between 2012-2014, these include off the coast of South Carolina, NE Florida and Georgia, and in the Indian River Lagoon, Florida
If you see a pink or white dolphin call the Southeast US Marine Mammal Stranding Network at 1-877-433-8299. They are interested in getting information on these unique animals.
Anomalies in nature matter because they raise awareness to the beauty and importance of wildlife and in this case also the forgotten sea called The Gulf of Mexico.
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