Pinkie, the rare pink bottlenose dolphin that was first spotted in the Calcasieu River eight years ago, is once again making the news after resurfacing in Louisiana waters two weeks ago.

Local charter boat captain Erik Rue said that he has taken several pictures of Pinkie mating in the area and discovered that the distinctly-colored mammal is female.

"I believe I'm first one who saw her and I know I'm the first one to take pictures of her," Rue said.

"I've learned a lot since I've spend a lot of time following her around."

According to Rue's account, he first saw Pinkie in 2007 while he was working for the Calcasieu Charter Service. He was with four other people on board his boat when he spotted the rare dolphin.

Rue said that Pinkie has since become a local celebrity in Lake Charles with tourists taking trips on his charter in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the pink mammal.

The charter boat captain added that many people get surprised when they see that Pinkie is indeed bright pink just like what they tell them.

He said that sightseers would often take out their cellphones in order to capture a photograph or video of the stunning animal.

As for the dolphin's behavior, Rue described Pinkie as a curious animal that would sometimes swim within five to 10 feet of his charter boat.

While he was able to determine Pinkie's gender, Rue admits that he is unsure how the marine mammal received its pink hue.

Greg Barsh, a researcher at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Alabama, said that Pinkie could likely be an albino. Evidence of this can be seen in the animal's reddish eyes as well as its blood vessels, which are visible through its pale skin that does not have any pigments.

Albinism typically occurs when the cells responsible for making melanin do not produce enough of the pigment or nothing at all.

Scientists believe that albinism is caused by a mutation in one of several different genes in the body.

In Pinkie's case, its parents could have looked like regular bottlenose dolphins, but they could have both carried a copy of the genetic mutation. When they mutated genes combined, it resulted in the distinctive color now seen on the marine mammal.

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