NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Spots, the Audubon Aquarium's famous white alligator, died today at the age of 28.
The Audubon Nature Institute announced Spots' death through Facebook, giving a brief history of his long career in both the Audubon Zoo and Aquarium.
"Collected from deep in a Louisiana swamp, Spots was part of a clutch of seventeen infants recovered by workers from the Louisiana Land and Exploration Company while surveying the area in 1986," according to the Audubon Institute. " The group later brought the some of the hatchlings to the Audubon Zoo and Spots was brought to the Aquarium when it opened in 1990. "
Spots had a rare genetic condition called Leucism that reduced the color of pigmentation in his skin, giving him his famous color. According to the Audubon Institute, out of the 5 million American alligators in the world, less than 15 are though to have this condition.
Spots' condition made him sensitive to sunlight and an easy target for predators, according to Audubon Aquarium Managing Director Rich Toth, making his care in the aquarium essential to his survival.
"We have been fortunate to be able to experience the wonder of such a rare and beautiful animal," said Audubon Aquarium of the Americas Managing Director Rich Toth. "Because of Spots' leucistic condition, his chances for survival in the wild were practically impossible. We're proud to have cared for him for more than 28 years."
Spots was under the care of an experience veterinary team and the Audubon Institute said they are still working to determine the exact cause of death.