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Rare dolphin resurfaces near the coast – but why is it pink?

Pinky the Dolphin, an infamous and rare dolphin off the coast of Louisiana, made another appearance on Saturday.
Pinky the Dolphin, an infamous and rare dolphin off the coast of Louisiana, made another appearance on Saturday. Facebook

Albino dolphin sightings are rare enough, but the coast of Louisiana is apparently the home for something rarer – a pink dolphin.

Aptly named “Pinky,” the dolphin was first spotted off the coast in 2007, reportedly with its mother, who appears to be a normal bottlenose dolphin. The pink dolphin was spotted again on Saturday afternoon in the Calcasieu Ship Channel near Hackberry, according to Bridget Boudreaux.

“I about fell out the boat,” Boudreaux told KHOU. “I was like, ‘Wow that’s not a regular dolphin, that’s a pink dolphin.’”

Boudreaux said not only did she see Pinky, but another pink dolphin, though she only got pictures and video of one. Some have speculated the second dolphin is Pinky’s offspring, according to WFLA.

That would make sense, because while some experts believe Pinky might just be albino, Senior Rescue Biologist Kerry Sánchez from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium told WFLA it might be a product of genetic variation.

“Seeing an animal that is extremely light in color is not something we would normally expect to see,” Sánchez said. “And in my full time here, we’ve never seen an animal that looks like that.”

It’s impossible to say for sure without genetic testing on Pinky.

There have only been 15 recorded sightings of all-white dolphins, some of those off the Florida coast.

Some coastal bottlenose dolphins take up residence in a “home range,” a set area that dolphins remain in for their day-to-day activities, according to SeaWorld. Resident dolphins have been identified along the coasts of Georgia, Florida, Texas, southern California and the Gulf of California.

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