"Pinky" the dolphin making waves far and wide - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

"Pinky" the dolphin making waves far and wide

Pinky sighting in Calcasieu Ship Channel near Hackberry (Source: Bridget A. Boudreaux). Pinky sighting in Calcasieu Ship Channel near Hackberry (Source: Bridget A. Boudreaux).
HACKBERRY, LA (KPLC) -

It started off as a cruise down the Calcasieu ship channel for Bridget Boudreaux and friends, but as soon as they got to Hackberry, something very few people get to witness popped out of the water.

“I said to my husband, Scott, stop the boat! That was a pink dolphin,” Boudreaux said.

Almost everyone in Southwest Louisiana knows that was “Pinky”, a rare albino dolphin, first spotted as a calf with its mother in 2007.

“We noticed there was not only one pink dolphin but two,” Boudreaux said.

Boudreaux says the second pink dolphin disappeared before she could film it, but she did happen to capture the dolphins playing as a giant cargo ship passed.

“The picture does it no justice," Boudreaux said. "It looks like the dolphin was covered in Pepto Bismol."

The photo Boudreaux snapped has been getting major attention.

“I wake up in the morning and my Facebook’s got a hundred notifications and calls and I’m like 'wow,' ” Boudreaux said.

She's been contacted by people in countries from India to Denmark, even getting the attention of National Geographic.

“This picture has gotten so much attention because it's the first picture out of the water completely,” Boudreaux said. “Not something you see every day.”

It isn't something you see every day. The odds of an albino mammal are 1 in 10,000 according to Mandy Tumlin, with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Tumlin says there have only been 14 albino dolphin sightings since 1964 and the chance of there being two - like Boudreaux says she saw - is slim.

“The dolphin can swim pretty quickly underwater so, sometimes, you might think it would surface where you just saw it and then it surfaces on the other side,” said Tumlin. “That might make someone think that there could be more than one but at this time we are still going with one.”

With the help of the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office Marine Division, I decided to check out the channel for myself and see if I could spot Pinky.

As I returned to shore, with no Pinky in sight, I realized it really is a unique and rare sight to see.

If you’ve been lucky enough to see Pinky, let Wildlife and Fisheries know!

This is what they ask:

Reports and observations of this animal are very important to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) as well as our federal partners at NOAA/NMFS.  Please continue to report sightings of this animal to Mandy Tumlin, LDWF at mtumlin@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2377.  However, we want to remind the public of the guidelines for viewing dolphins in the wild:

  • Never feed or attempt to feed wild dolphins
  • Remain a respectful distance from dolphins.  The minimum recommended viewing distance for dolphins is 50 yards.
  • Do not swim with, ride, pet, touch, or attempt to interact with dolphins in the wild.
  • Limit your viewing time to 30 minutes or less.
  • Avoid approaching dolphins when another vessel is near.
  • Never pursue or follow a dolphin.
  • If approached by a dolphin, put your vessel’s engine in neutral; allow the dolphin to pass and move away slowly.
  • Dolphins should not be encircled or trapped between vessels, or vessels and the shoreline.
  • Avoid excessive vessel speed or sudden changes in speed or direction, and do not operate or maneuver a vessel in a way that may change the dolphin’s behaviors.
  • Avoid excessive noise.
  • Slowly leave the area if wild dolphin(s) show signs of disturbance such as strong exhaling, tail-slapping, repeated avoidance behavior, erratic changes in speed or direction, increased aerial behaviors or lengthy periods underwater.
  • Report violations such as feeding, touching or chasing wild dolphins to the NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964 or the LDWF Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-442-2511

Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved. 

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