Rare albino seal spotted in Russia

NDTV – A rare albino seal pup has been spotted in Russia’s Tyuleny Island.

Last week, Vladimir Burkanov, a marine mammal biologist, shared photos of the unique seal on social media, reported People Magazine. Ginger fur, pink flippers and blue eyes set the baby seal apart from its black-furred peers, and it has been nicknamed Ugly Duckling by researchers.

Photos and videos shared by Burkanov on Instagram show the albino seal pup sticking out in stark contrast to other, darker, seals.

“’Ugly duckling’ – albino fur seal is rare event. … looks more red than white. This is a clear albino without any pigmentation even in eyes,” Burkanov captioned a post on Instagram.

While the albino seal has captivated social media’s attention, researchers fear that it could be rejected by its rookery for its rare features.

Burkanov reportedly said that the seal pup is not a total outcast, but there are signs that it is being shunned by its peers.

“This pup looks well fed and was very active, so its mother clearly gave it plenty of milk,” he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. “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 is not getting chased or bitten.”

If the seal pup is rejected by the rookery, wildlife specialists will rescue it and hand it into the care of a dolphinarium. In a separate Instagram post, Burkanov shared information about a similar case of an albino seal. “A photo of an albino (partial albino or chromist) fur seal pup aroused the interest of visitors to my page. I tried to find information on the age of similar unusual colour of young fur seal, my former student, and now a colleague Sergey Fomin photographed at the Severo-Zapadnoe rookery on the Bering Island in fall 2017 (sic),” he wrote.

Experts estimate that the chances of an albino seal being born are one in 1,00,000.