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Gaspar, the white Iberian dolphin that swims at Praia do Molhe
19-07-2019

The first white Iberian dolphin to be spotted in the Iberian Peninsula has visited the beaches of Porto and Matosinhos these past days. It is a pleasure to see such a white dot against the blue of the Atlantic Ocean, as Gaspar - the name CIIMAR researchers gave him - swims back and forth Porto and Matosinhos beaches, even though fishermen believe it is a female, as it was spotted with a cub. 


Researchers Agatha Gil and Mafalda Correia work at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Marine Research (CIIMAR) and volunteer to monitor the Portuguese coastal areas, not only to collect data on dolphins but also on whales.

"One day I went to see the sunset in Foz, and when I saw something white in the water, I thought it was plastic, but it came closer. A shark, and then I realized that it was "was a dolphin," said Agatha Gil.

The dolphin has been monitored by the CIIMAR team of researchers in Matosinhos under the CETUS project. The dolphin is considered a leucistico animal, due to colour deviation.

"Gaspar has a very peculiar behaviour, because it is the only one approaching less than five meters from the beach of the Molhe, in Porto, and always plays with fish," Agatha Gil explained in a statement to Lusa.

Though there are indices of this type of leucistico animal being spotted in California, USA and in England, as well, Gaspar is the first Iberian animal to be spotted in Porto and in Matosinhos.

In addition to the Portuguese coast, the team also monitors the Macaronesia region (Archipelago of the Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands and Cape Verde) to collect data on dolphins and whales to determine their abundance in the ocean Atlantic, as of 2012, with researchers having been able to identify more than 27 species, and 20 types of dolphins.