Unique ‘Ginger Ugly Duckling’ Seal Pup May Require Biologist Intervention Due to Social Isolation in Its Colony

An exceptionally rare ginger fur seal pup has been spotted in the Sea of Okhotsk in Russia.

The pinniped stands out from the rest of its colony with its colouring, blue eyes and pink flippers.

Experts say the chances of such a partial albino birth are one in 100,000 and there is a risk of rejection by the rookery.

An exceptionally rare ginger fur seal pup has been spotted in the Sea of Okhotsk in Russia (pictured)

Biologist Vladimir Burkanov says that so far this fur seal on Tyuleny Island – nicknamed The Ugly Duckling – has not become a total outcast, yet there are signs of it being slightly shunned

The seal is believed to have poor eyesight and Dr Burkanov is doubtful it will successfully breed

Biologist Vladimir Burkanov says that so far this fur seal on Tyuleny Island – nicknamed The Ugly Duckling – has not become a total outcast, yet there are signs of it being slightly shunned.

‘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 is not getting chased or bitten.’

The seal is believed to have poor eyesight and Dr Burkanov is doubtful the seal will successfully breed.

If it is rejected, wildlife specialists are ready to rescue the mammal and hand it to a dolphinarium.

A similar looking male fur seal is known to have matured in Severo-Zapadnoe rookery on Bering Island and is now five or six years old.

In a case in 2011, an ostocised ginger fur seal called Nafanya (pictured) similarly became the centre of attention for its unusual colouring

Nafanya (pictured) was also from Tyuleny Island, a breeding ground for the species

The older seal (pictured) had to be rescued and was flown to Sochi Dolphinarium on the Black Sea in 2011

‘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.’

But in a case in 2011, an ostocised ginger fur seal called Nafanya – also from Tyuleny Island, a breeding ground for the species – had to be rescued and was flown to Sochi Dolphinarium on the Black Sea.

Sia

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