Dolphins are cute, intelligent creatures that are known for being friendly. We have also gotten used to seeing them as animated characters, collectible decorations, or toys. In these forms, you can find them in any color you want. How cool is it to see a cotton candy hued dolphin? A community in Louisiana is home to one such animal named Pinky, who swims freely in the fresh river and lake waters of Calcasieu. If you’re lucky, you may even catch her checking out the humans!
Pinky is a rarity for two reasons: her entire body is pink and she’s a saltwater bottlenose dolphin. Saltwater dolphins aren’t typically found in fresh water, but the water has just the right amount of salt to keep Pinky coming back year after year. Her rise to celebrity status began in 2007 when she was first spotted in the region as a baby. Now, almost a decade later, Pinky has her own fan following, logo, and Facebook page!
In most dolphins, the abdomen has a pinkish-grey tint that works as part of their camouflage. Dolphins that are completely pink are an anomaly. There are species of pink dolphins that exist in nature, including the Amazon river dolphin whose habitat is strictly freshwater. Their shade comes from capillaries being so close to the skin. The Chinese white dolphin looks similar to Pinky and swims in the oceans of Asia. But like the ones in the Amazon, their pigment is capillary related. In Pinky’s case, her coloring is thought to be the result of albinism, a gene mutation where normal pigmentation is stunted. National Geographic notes that it is incredibly rare to see albino animals living in the wild, as their eyesight could be very limited from their condition.
With all the cute animals in the world, sometimes it’s hard to come to terms with the fact they may be endangered or rare. Pinky and others like her are a treasure. Ever since riverboat captain Erik Rue started snapping pics of Pinky years ago, he keeps up with her movements. He shoots videos of her regularly and takes pictures of the beloved animal. Last year, he reported he saw Pinky mating in local waters. Today, she continues to charm the locals and tourists who are lucky enough to spot her. Boat tours bring visitors who want to catch a glimpse of the superstar pink dolphin, and sightings of Pinky are posted online so others can share in the excitement. Since we’re caught up too, we thought we’d share one of the videos of Pinky swimming. Check out the video from NewsBeat Social below. Have you ever seen a pink dolphin before? Share in the comments.