A rare albino fur seal has been spotted by biologist Vladimir Burkanov amongst a colony on Russia’s Tyuleny Island, but it remains to be seen if the critter will be accepted by his own kind.
The ginger-furred, blue-eyed seal, named “Ugly Duckling” by Burkanov, would have poor eyesight, researchers say, which may hamper its survival prospects.
It may also be rejected by the colony due to its different colour.
However, Burkanov said the pup was clearly well-fed, and not being bothered by the other seals, which was a good sign.
He also shared the story of a fully grown albino seal spotted on Bering Island, which had reached full maturity at around six years of age. This could be “the first documented case of the survival of a northern fur seal of an abnormal colour to adulthood,” Burkanov wrote, indicating Ugly Duckling may have a chance of making it in the wild after all.