Rare white dolphin spotted in Clearwater canal

A rare white dolphin named ‘Cherub’ has been spotted in a Clearwater canal for the first reported time in a year, according to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. 

Experts at CMA say Cherub has hypopigmentation. They say the dolphin was born with normal coloring, but over time has lightened significantly.

CMA says a Bay Area resident sent in the video of Cherub, who seems to be doing well as it travels with three other dolphins. 

Cherub drew a lot of attention in April 2021, when the dolphin was seen swimming with its mother in Clearwater. Cherub appeared to have a scar on its tail, which marine biologists say was likely due to a shark bite. However, experts don't believe it impacted the animal's ability to swim. 

Last year, marine biologist Savannah Gandee put out a warning to give Cherub some space. 

"We just really want people to remember that we want to maintain its wild status, allow it to thrive, and especially get past this critical first year of its life," she said. "Most important to boaters, especially if this animal happens to be nearby, we ask they responsibly view it."

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CMA says boaters should stay at least 50 yards away from any dolphins, reduce speeds and never chase, feed or harass dolphins and other protected marine species in any way that may endanger them or disrupt their natural behavior in their habitats. Dolphins are federally protected animals; harassing one is illegal. 

CMA encourages people who see Cherub to call its rescue hotline at 727-441-1790 ext. 1, so it can keep track of the dolphin’s health and growth.