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Rare White Orca ‘Frosty’ Delights Southern California Coast Watchers … Again!

DANA POINT— Frosty must like our Southern California coastal waters because passengers aboard Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari were treated to an unexpected spectacle on April 30 as killer whales made a thrilling appearance near Dana Point. Adding to the excitement was Frosty, a rare white orca, sending expectations soaring for those aboard AllsWell, Captain Dave’s rigid hull inflatable boat.

Frosty, identified as CA216C1 by the California Killer Whale Project, stands out with his predominantly white appearance, punctuated by small patches of black. The cause behind Frosty’s unique coloring is a subject of speculation, with possibilities including leucism or Chediak-Higashi Syndrome, both stemming from genetic mutations affecting pigmentation. Despite his distinct appearance, Frosty navigates life as an apex predator within his pod, seemingly unaffected by his rare phenotype.

Gisele Anderson, co-president of Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari, expressed immense delight at the sighting, particularly of Frosty. “To see this beautiful animal thriving brings joy to all of us,” she remarked.

Frosty first emerged on record in 2019 and belongs to a pod of Bigg’s killer whales known as CA216, observed along the West Coast of North America. The pod’s frequent appearances have prompted scientific interest, with the possibility of Bigg’s killer whales being classified as a distinct species currently under review by the Taxonomy Committee of the Society of Marine Mammalogy.

The sighting of killer whales, especially two separate pods in the same year, is a rare occurrence in Southern California waters, making this year particularly remarkable for whale watchers and operators in the region. The influx of whale activity, coupled with recent scientific revelations suggesting the existence of new species of killer whales, has fueled curiosity and excitement among researchers and enthusiasts alike.

For Dana Point, billed as the Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World, this sighting adds to its allure as a prime destination for marine wildlife enthusiasts. With its diverse marine life, pristine coastline and vibrant harbor, Dana Point continues to captivate visitors and researchers, offering unparalleled opportunities for oceanic exploration and discovery.

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