Rare white orca calf spotted in B.C. waters for the first time

WATCH: An orca and her rare white calf were seen near Telegraph Cove, B.C. It's the first time "Frosty" has been documented in B.C. waters -- as the whales spend most of their time off the coast of California and Mexico.

A rare white orca calf has been spotted in B.C. waters.

The Pacific Whale Watch Association said a captain for Prince of Whales in Telegraph Cove was on a tour Wednesday watching Bigg’s transient orcas when he noticed a nearly all-white whale in the pod.

Captain Scott Turton thought at first the whale might be T46B1B Tl’uk, a white orca known throughout the Salish Sea, but after snapping some photos, the Pacific Whale Watch Association said this was not the same whale.

white orca

The white orca was spotted in Telegraph Cove on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022.

Scott Turton, a captain for Prince of Whales in Telegraph Cove

A white orca has been seen several times in California, and even as far south as Tijuana, Mexico, on Oct. 28, 2021, and Turton reached out to Alisa Schulman-Janiger with the California Killer Whale Project.

Schulman-Janiger confirmed that traveling with members of the local T060 and T069 families were CA216C and her white calf, CA216C1, named Frosty.

The Pacific Whale Watch Association said at one point, the two California whales branched off on their own and found themselves in very shallow water in Beaver Cove, but by 5 p.m. they had left the cove and were seen by Scott and the Prince of Whales boat heading west, just the two of them, out of the area.

Frosty was first reported by Monterey Bay Whale Watch in August 2019 but has never been documented in B.C. waters, Pacific Whale Watch said, although the California Killer Whale Project did report the mom, CA216C, was seen near Alert Bay in July 2014 with her family.

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

Prior to Wednesday, the last sighting of Frosty was off the Farallones in California on June 26.

According to the Pacific Whale Watch Association, naturalists are not sure what makes Frosty white but he is not the first whale with a similar condition.

Tl’uk is a well-documented young whale who unfortunately hasn’t been seen since April 2021. There was also Chimo who was kept at Sealand in the 1970s.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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