“In other dolphin news this year, the pinkish albino dolphin spotted by Capt. Erik Rue of Calcasieu Charter service apparently still is alive.
Rue has seen it several times since he initially saw it in June near Calcasieu Lake, including a sighting last month. The dolphin and the four or five others who are the nondescript gray have been spotted out in the Gulf of Mexico near the ferry, through the ship channel up to the lake, he said.
“It’s a neat deal,” Rue, who usually keeps an eye out for the albino, said. “I just get lucky enough to see it.”
At first, the little dolphin stuck close to its mother. Now it has gotten bigger and sometimes ventures from her, but stays with the pod, Rue said.
Customers ask about the dolphin, and other fishermen have photographed it too, he said.
Generally, albinos don’t inherit the normal pigment-producing genes and generally have fair skin, white hair and, in some cases, red eyes.
Usually, a mother and father each will give the pigment-producing genes to the children. If both genes don’t produce pigments, then the child will be affected by albinism, according to the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation Web site.
It affects all races and types of animals. The pigment melanin, found in people and animals, helps absorb the sun’s ultraviolet rays and promotes eye color development. Albinism can cause eye problems and sensitivity to light, making the skin prone to burning, according to the site.
There have been only three other confirmed sightings of albino dolphins along the Gulf Coast in the last 15 years, according to The Enterprise archives. One was spotted near New Orleans and another was south of Galveston.
“It’s been fun,” Rue said of seeing the pink dolphin.”