Created on Tuesday, 21 April 2015 00:00
You've heard of and probably played with mood rings that change colors according to your emotions, but have you heard of dolphins that change colors when they get emotional? A rare albino bottlenose dolphin that resides in the Taiji Whale Museum in southern Japan has drawn huge and fascinated crowds by its unique ability to change color from white to pink when it gets emotional.
While pink bottlenose dolphins are typically pink with grey spots scattered all over their bodies, this elusive mammal is pure white, except for when it's feeling angry, sad or embarrassed, then the color of its skin morphs into a baby pink hue.
The phenonmenon results from the animal's thin skin, which means its blood vessels can cause a change in skin tone depending on their emotional state. Basically, it is the same as blushing the way humans do.
This magnificent creature is believed to be only the second one ever to be put on display in an aquarium after it was purchased from fishermen last year. The animal was controversially captured during the annual dolphin hunt in the town of Taij in January last year.
Luckily for this water-dwelling mammal, its quirky coloration saved it from a gastronomical death as the fishermen understood that they would probably get more selling it to an aquarium than as meat.
The Taiji hunt was made notorious by the 2009 Oscar-winning documentary 'The Cove' which raised awareness of the Japanese fishermen capturing hundreds of dolphins for aquariums or to be killed for food.
Japan's Wakayama Prefecture, which includes Taiji, reported that 1,218 dolphins and small whales were captured there in 2011, though it did not specify how many of those captured were killed.
Environmental activists filed a lawsuit against the Taiji Whaling Museum in May 2014, claiming it had refused experts to check on the safety of the elusive dolphin.
But the museum claims the creatures health has been monitored through periodic blood tests, and that they are keeping it 'physically and mentally healthy' for further research. You have to admit that all this sounds very fishy, if they are really keeping it happy and healthy, they should have nothing to hide and could let an expert check on its well-being to put all animal actvists' minds at ease, but their refusal to comply is very questionable.
It was also reported the museum did the animal a favour - albino dolphins are easy prey at sea as they unable to blend in like their grey coloured relatives. However, how it survived so long before its capture eludes all answers.
Taiji Whaling Museum, along with the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology and the Institute of Cetacean Research, published a study about the dolphin in Mammal Study March 2015.
Share this article with your friends. Do you think this beautiful creature should be released back into the wild or kept in the confines and “safety” of the museum for the rest of its life?