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.
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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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."
Originally published as Rare ginger seal pup faces being shunned