Return of Snowball? White dolphin spotted in Charleston

Posted by JEFF KIDD on March 31, 2014 

Given all the bad news about bottlenose dolphins washing ashore dead in recent weeks -- two more were discovered this weekend, see reporter Erin Moody's tweet below -- we could use some good news on the animal front, I suppose.

 A rare animal -- an albino dolphin -- might be hunting with its mother in the Charleston Harbor, The (Charleston) Post and Courier reported Saturday. The young, white dolphin has surfaced several times in recent weeks near the Wappoo Creek bridge on Folly Road, the newspaper said.

This will sound familiar to old-timers in Beaufort County. Back in the early 1960s, we had our own albino dolphin, Snowball, a solid-white porpoise spotted in St. Helena Sound and eventually captured in 1962 in Colleton County waters and whisked to the Miami Seaquarium in Florida. There, Snowball attracted 3 million visitors before she died in 1965.

Columnist David Lauderdale recently recounted the story, and a Florida man's attempt to return a life-size replica of Snowball -- which contains the dolphin's cranium, jaw and black teeth -- to a group in Beaufort where it might again be displayed. (Apparently, the Port Royal Sound Foundation is attempting to bring Snowball home, possibly for display in its under-construction center at the Lemon Island Marina.

Below is an interview with local fisherman Sonny Gay, who recounted his experience with Snowball and the people who captured her.

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