Rare Albino Seal Spotted In Russia. It Has Been Nicknamed "Ugly Duckling"

The albino seal has been nicknamed Ugly Duckling by researchers

Rare Albino Seal Spotted In Russia. It Has Been Nicknamed 'Ugly Duckling'

An albino seal pup has been spotted in Russia.

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, reports 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 Mr 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," Mr 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. 

Mr 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, Mr 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 color 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.

Альбинос-хромист – продолжение: Фотография котика альбиноса, или более правильно будет сказать - хромиста, вызвала интерес у и вопросы у посетителей. Я помню осенью 2017 года на лежбище Северо-Западном острова Беринга мой бывший студент, а теперь коллега, работающий на Командорских островах, Сергей Фомин фотографировал самца-холостяка такой же необычной окраски. Он был хорошо упитан, хотя имел явные проблемы со зрением. Я обратился к нему за уточнением возраста того альбиноса, и Сергей сообщил мне, что видел и снял этого же самца в этом году! И на том же самом месте Северо-Западного лежбища, где он его фотографировал осенью 2017 года. Теперь он уже секач, достиг половой зрелости и ему 5-6 лет. Но находился на нерепродуктивной части лежбища. Т.е. в размножение в этом сезоне не вступал. Пожалуй, это первый документально зафиксированный случай дожития котика аномальной окраски до половозрелого возраста. Albino fur seal – continued: 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 color 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. The animal was 2 or 3 years old and physically in good shape, even it was clear it had poor sight. I turned to him to clarify the age of that albino, and Sergeн replayed me that he had seen and photographed the same male this summer again! In the exact location of the Severo-Zapadnoe rookery, where he photographed the animal in the fall of 2017. 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.

A post shared by Vladimir Burkanov (@bigdaddivladi) on

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

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