A rare pink dolphin made an appearance this week in a Louisiana lake, giving a glimpse of a famous marine mammal that’s been known to make an appearance now and then.
The pink dolphin lives in the waters of Cameron Parish, and was first spotted in 2007 swimming in the Calcasieu Ship Channel. The animal is actually an albino, and the lack of pigmentation ends up giving it a pinkish hue.
Locals have spotted the dolphin — which has been given the nickname “Pinky” — a number of times over the last few years. The latest time was by James Stark and Kaylin Quinn, who this week emailed the picture of the animal to a local news outlet.
Their shot of the pink dolphin poking its head above the water has become a viral hit, with the news story being picked up across the country.
Pinky has made other appearances. In 2009, a charter boat captain named Eric Rue captured a series of photographs of the pink dolphin.
“I just happened to see a little pod of dolphins, and I noticed one that was a little lighter,” he said of the encounter. “It was absolutely stunningly pink. I had never seen anything like it. It’s the same color throughout the whole body and it looks like it just came out of a paint booth.”
Rue said he’s spotted the pink dolphin close to 50 times before, as it took up residence in the ship channel where he often traveled.
“As time has passed the young mammal has grown and sometimes ventures away from its mother to feed and play but always remains in the vicinity of the pod,” he said. “Surprisingly, it does not appear to be drastically affected by the environment or sunlight as might be expected considering its condition, although it tends to remain below the surface a little more than the others in the pod.”
More pictures of the pink dolphin can be found here.