Rare Ginger Seal Pup Risks Being Shunned Over Unusual Colouring
The pinniped, which was spotted in the Sea of Okhotsk, has pink flippers and blue eyes as well as ginger fur all over its body.
Experts have said the chances of a partial albino birth, such as this, are around one in 100,000 and that its condition means there's a risk of rejection from its peers. Poor little dude.
Biologist Vladimir Burkanov says that the seal, found on Tyunleny Island, has been nicknamed The Ugly Duckling, which is a bit harsh if you ask me. I think it's a little cutie.
Sadly, Burkanov has said there are already signs that its being shunned and fears 'something is not quite right'.
He said: "This pup looks well fed and was very active, so its mother clearly gave it plenty of milk.
"Other seals don't pay too much attention to it in a somewhat worrying manner, so something is not quite right with it.
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"But it is not getting chased or bitten."
The seal is thought to have bad eyesight, and Dr Burkanov reckons it's unlikely it will ever successfully breed.
If it does end up being fully rejected, wildlife specialists are on-hand ready to rescue it and take it to a dolphinarium, where it will be looked after.
But it's not all bad news, because a similar-looking male fur seal is known to have grown up on Bering Island, and is now around five or six years old.
"He did not participate in reproduction this season and was seen on the bachelor section of the rookery only," said the biologist.
"Perhaps, this is the first documented case of the survival of a northern fur seal of an abnormal colour to adulthood."
On the other side of the coin, in 2011 a shunned ginger fur seal called Nafanya, who also lived on Tyuleny Island, did have to be rescued.
It was flown to the Sochi Dolphinarium in the Black Sea to be looked after by specialists.
Featured Image Credit: East2West News
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