An albino seal pup could be rejected by its colony because of its unique colouring, with marine scientists monitoring its survival.
An albino seal pup could be rejected by its colony because of its unique colouring, with marine scientists monitoring its survival.

Rare ginger seal pup faces being shunned

Even seals face rejection too.

This ginger fur seal pup is so rare it could be rejected by its colony for not fitting in.

The albino animal was spotted by marine biologist Vladimir Burkanov on a field trip at Tyuleny Island, east of Russia.

He called it an ugly duckling because of its unique colouring, which is said to occur in only one in 100,000 animals.

It was born less than a month ago and scientists will now monitor its survival in the colony.

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The ginger seal might not survive. Picture: Vladimir Burkanov
The ginger seal might not survive. Picture: Vladimir Burkanov

 

Mr Burkanov said so far the seal looked to be doing well.

'This pup looks well fed and was very active, so its mother clearly gave it plenty of milk," he said.

"Other seals don't pay too much attention to it in a somewhat worrying manner, so something is not quite right with it. But it's not getting chased or bitten."

Mr Burkanov said based on other cases of albino seals, the chances of this one growing and breeding were small.

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The seal suffers poor eyesight. Picture: Vladimir Burkanov
The seal suffers poor eyesight. Picture: Vladimir Burkanov

 

But Mr Burkanov said he had reached out to a colleague and discovered another animal he had photographed had survived.

Sergey Fomin photographed the seal at the Severo-Zapadnoe rookery on the Bering Island in 2017.

"The animal was two or three years old and physically in good shape, even it was clear it had poor sight," he said.

Mr Burkanov said he asked Mr Fomin to clarify the age of that animal when he informed him he had seen it again recently in the same location.

"The albino is now a matured bull, 5-6 years old," he said.

"He did not participate in reproduction this season and was seen on the bachelor section of the rookery only. Perhaps, this is the first documented case of the survival of a northern fur seal of an abnormal colour to adulthood."

But there is hope yet after this albino seal has survived. Picture: Sergey Fomin
But there is hope yet after this albino seal has survived. Picture: Sergey Fomin

 

Originally published as Rare ginger seal pup faces being shunned



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