A rare ginger seal faces being shunned by its colony for its different appearance. The animal was discovered in the Tyuleny Island in Okhotsk, Russia.
Vladimir Burkanov, a Marine Mammal Biologist, posted photos of the albino seal on his Instagram. The post gained a lot of attention on social media. He dubbed the seal as the “ugly duckling” of the colony since it faces rejection from them.
According to Burkanov, he discovered the seal “on the northern fur seal rookery in late July”. He told The Koala, “The albino seal is a genetic mutation, which occurred quite rare, in rate 1:100,000 or even more newly born pups.”
Other seals have not been aggressive to the ginger seal yet. However, they do not pay much attention to it as well which might lead it to being abandoned. The biologist also mentioned that the ginger seals mom was giving it “plenty milk” and “it was healthy and well-fed.”
Chances of Survival
Years ago another ginger seal named Nafanya was shunned by its family. The poor seal had to be placed in an aquarium instead. Chances of this happening again are possible.
However, Vladimir Burkanov still has hope that the albino seal can survive in its current home. In a new post, he shared a photo of a ginger seal taken by Sergey Fomin at the Severo-Zapadnoe rookery on Bering Island in fall 2017. The seal had poor eyesight but was healthy. Burkanov confirmed that Sergey had photographed the ginger seal again in the same location recently and he was doing fine.
He further wrote in the post, “The albino is now matured bull 5-6 years old. 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 color to adulthood.”
We hope this new “ugly duckling” will survive and thrive in its home!