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White harbour porpoise sighting in Baltic Sea

WDC has received footage of a white harbour porpoise, sighting in the Baltic Sea, close to the Great Belt in Denmark. White individuals are very rare among whales and dolphins, only 15 white harbour porpoise sightings have been reported in the past 100 years. Usually the harbour porpoise has a robust dark body, with a white or pale grey belly. They tend to be shy creatures and seldom come close to boats. However, on this occasion the porpoise was unusually curious, swimming close to the boat and following the crew for a while. The porpoise was accompanied by a more typical grey member of the species.

Weißer Schweinswal

Previously, a white harbour porpoise stranded in Germany in 2013, probably after getting injured by a marine propeller. “White harbour porpoises are very rare, so every sighting is a major event” according to Fabian Ritter, marine biologist at WDC. “It is important to report such sightings. They are of great scientific value to us.”

In recent years, a number of white whales and dolphins have appeared in the news. Albinism is rare amongst whales and dolphins but is found in a variety of different species.

Copyright photos & video: Peter Hofmann.

About George Berry

George is a member of WDC's Communications team and website coordinator.