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Rare Leucistic Orca Calf named Frosty Spotted Hunting by California Coast

The Leucistic Orca Frosty
Photo: Murdoch University / MGN

Frosty, a male orca with a leucistic appearance, has black patches on his dorsal fin and the front of his face due to a genetic mutation. He is a member of a pod of transient or Bigg’s killer whales known as CA216 and has been spotted traveling along the west coast of North America. 

He was spotted near Newport Harbour with six other adult orcas and filmed by a whale-watching team. Despite his condition, Frosty appears healthy and will have an everyday orca life since these animals have no natural predators.

What Causes Frosty’s Unique White Coloring?

The Leucistic Orca Frosty
Frosty with his pod captured by For the Win.

Frosty’s rare white appearance is due to either leucism or Chediak-Higashi Syndrome. These conditions result in the pale coloring that sets Frosty apart from the typical black-and-white pattern seen in orcas.

Rare Sighting of Frosty the White Orca in Monterey Bay

The Leucistic Orca Frosty
NEWPORT LANDING WHALE WATCHING / FACEBOOK

Whale watchers in Monterey Bay, California, experienced a remarkable event when they spotted Frosty, a rare white orca, swimming with its pod. The unusual coloring of Frosty, attributed to leucism or Chediak-Higashi Syndrome, set this sighting apart from typical orca encounters, making it an extraordinary and memorable observation.

Frosty Seen Hunting with Pod in Incredible Encounter

frosty
Delaney Trowbridge, @NewportCoastalAdventure, @NewportWhales / FOX Weather

During the sighting, Frosty the white orca was observed actively hunting alongside its pod, demonstrating its integration within the group despite its unique appearance. The drone footage captured this rare behavior, providing a rare glimpse into the lives of orcas and highlighting Frosty’s role within its family group in Monterey Bay.

Watch Frosty in Action

YouTube video
“Killer whales spotted off coast of Newport Beach as whale watching..” via youtube.

2023 Sighting in Malibu

frosty
Image via KSBW Action News

On April 24 2023, Frosty was spotted with six other adult orcas by the team from Newport Coastal Adventure, which offers whale-watching trips. 

The sighting occurred around 13 kilometers (8 miles) off the coast of Malibu, near Newport Harbour. The team filmed and shared footage of Frosty and his companions on their Facebook and Instagram pages.

Frosty’s Interaction with the Pod

frosty and mom
Bigg’s killer whales, 3-year-old CA216C1 Frosty with mom CA216, are seen in the Pacific Ocean about 8 miles off Point Dume on Sunday, April 23. Photo by Cris Bough Bibler, on Newport Coastal Adventure.

Captured on drone footage, Frosty was seen swimming in formation with a pod of orcas, known as Louise’s group. This interaction offered a glimpse into the social behavior and dynamics of orca pods, even among those with unique physical traits.

Public Fascination with Frosty

The Leucistic Orca Frosty
Delaney Trowbridge, @NewportCoastalAdventure, @NewportWhales / FOX Weather

The sighting of Frosty has generated significant public interest and excitement. Social media posts and video footage of the encounter have gone viral, captivating audiences with the rarity and beauty of the white orca.

Future Observations

The Leucistic Orca Frosty
Frosty captured by Domenic Biagini

Researchers and whale watchers are eager to learn more about Frosty and continue monitoring its interactions with the pod. Observations of Frosty provide valuable insights into the lives of orcas and the impact of genetic conditions on their behavior and appearance.

Is Leucism huriting Frosty?

The Leucistic Orca Frosty
Photo: Murdoch University / MGN

Although leucism can negatively impact some species, Frosty appears healthy despite his condition. As orcas have no natural predators, Frosty will live a typical orca life and reach adulthood without significant issues.

Did you know?

orca

Orcas are not whales but rather the most prominent member of the dolphin family

Did you know?

Orcas Stalk Blue Shark
Killer Whale, orcinus orca, Adult Breaching. Image via depositphotos.

Orcas are found in all the world’s oceans, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and are one of Earth’s most widely distributed mammals.

How cute is this Leucistic Orca named Frosty?

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