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Rare blue-eyed ginger seal pup found by Russian biologists at Sea of Okhotsk rookery

By The Siberian Times reporter
09 September 2020

Nicknamed ‘ugly duckling’ for its appearance, the pup will be monitored by scientists to ensure its safety.

The seal stands out from the rest of its colony with its colouring, blue eyes and pink flippers. Picture: Vladimir Burkanov

The brightly-coloured fur seal was born less than a month ago on the island of Tyuleny in the sea of Okhotsk. 

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 as happened some years ago with another seal called Nafanya (pictures). 

The tiny cub was spotted during a field trip by marine mammal biologist Vladimir Burkanov, who said that so far there was hope that it would stay with its colony. 

‘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 somewhat worrying manner, so something is not quite right with it. But it’s not getting chased or bitten’, he wrote. 

Like all other recorded cases of full and partial albino, the seal has poor eyesight. 

The seal was born in August 2020. Pictures and video: Vladimir Burkanov

Rare blue-eyed ginger seal pup found by Russian biologists at Sea of Okhotsk rookery

Rare blue-eyed ginger seal pup found by Russian biologists at Sea of Okhotsk rookery

Its chances of growing old and breeding are low to negative, Vladimir Burkanov said based on his knowledge and experience of years of observing fur seals. 

There was however a recently-recorded case of an adult partially albino seal at the Severo-Zapadnoe rookery on Bering Island. 

‘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’, said the biologist. 

Rare blue-eyed ginger seal pup found by Russian biologists at Sea of Okhotsk rookery
The Tuleny rookery. Picture: Vladimir Burkanov


Experts will now pay special attention to this rookery to make sure they can rescue the pup should it get rejected. 

That would mean a life in a  Russian dolphinarium as happened to Nafanya who was adopted to Sochi in the south of Russia.

Nafanya the albino seal pictured at the Tuleny rookery and after adoption at Sochi dolphinarium. Pictures: Anatoly Strakhov, Sochi dolphinarium

Rare blue-eyed ginger seal pup found by Russian biologists at Sea of Okhotsk rookery


Rare blue-eyed ginger seal pup found by Russian biologists at Sea of Okhotsk rookery


Rare blue-eyed ginger seal pup found by Russian biologists at Sea of Okhotsk rookery

Comments (5)

Why nickname it “Ugly Duckling”? Why not rare beauty?
V, UK
24/09/2020 16:55
1
1
Is the father a blonde blue eyed sailor?
American , Ameri, Ca
14/09/2020 07:40
2
1
This is a sea lion not a seal. It has external ear flaps and stands on its front flippers
Tori, United states
13/09/2020 21:40
2
0
should have never given the place where the pup was born and where he lives now. plenty of idiots who would like to catch it, slaughter it and just sell it for the unique pelt.if you see something that looks like a poacher, just shoot it!
Benedikt MORAK, Moscow
11/09/2020 11:50
6
0
Is there more melanine pigment production, making the seal a partial Albino, not an albino? I think she/he is absoultely gorgeous; she's a Ginger Rogers!!!

However it's beauty can become it's enemy...what with poor eye sight, then it's bright gleaming apricot colour making it too visible and consequently vulnerable to preditators and poachers.

Hopefully it will be rescued and kept in safety like Nafanya...Better that, than to end up as dead meat poor unique beautiful soul.
Anonymous, Switzerland
11/09/2020 01:21
9
0
1

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