Biologists in Brazil have stumbled upon a very rare albino dolphin off of the southern coast of South America.
This specific example belongs to the pontoporia blainvillei species of dolphin, which are almost extinct. In Brazil it is known as Toninha, while in Uruguay and Argentina they call it La Plata or Franciscana dolphin. It is known to be a shy species that never really jumps out of the water.
According to the Associated Press, Univille University in Santa Catarina said the albino dolphin was the first recorded of that particular species.
Albino dolphins are known to be pink instead of the signature gray or black of other dolphins. Camilla Meirelles Sartori, a biologist in charge of the Toninha dolphin project, said after first spotting it in October, "We were surprised, shocked. It's very small, and the color is really different. We didn't know what it was at first."
The dolphin is a calf, and appears to be following its mother around. Dolphins feed off the mother's milk until six months old and are usually dependent on the female until one-years-old.
"Albino animals generally have fewer chances of survival because they have greater chances of being caught by predators," said Sartori to AP. "Here, in this bay, they don't have natural predators. But there is a lot of environmental degradation from two ports, industrial and residential sewage, tourism. This is an another argument for its protection."
This species is endangered because their long snouts cause them to get tangled in fishing nets and ultimately drown or stress the dolphin to death.
Albinism happens when the body has a deficit of melanin pigments. Melanin gives the skin its color, so without it or very little, the skin and hair appears very light or white. The pink color comes from blood vessels under the skin.
Other animals that have been known to be albino are: whales, alligators, species of dogs and cats, bears, and even humans.
Watch pink dolphins below (note: not actual footage of dolphin in the story, but an example of an albino dolphin.)