From Outcast to Inspiration: The Remarkable Story Of The ‘Ugly Duckling’ Ginger Seal

This adorable orange ball of fluff that you can see in the photos below was recently spotted in the Sea of Okhotsk in Russia. Apparently, such ᴀʟʙɪɴᴏ seals as this one are extremely rare. Experts say the chances of such a partial ᴀʟʙɪɴᴏ birth are one in 100,000 and there is a risk of rejection by the rookery.
With its ginger fur, pink flippers, and blue eyes, a rare ᴀʟʙɪɴᴏ seal pup sticks out like a sore thumb in the rookery. And his unusual looks bring the pup a higher risk of being rejected by the rookery. This weird ᴀʟʙɪɴᴏ seal pup is named the “Ugly Duckling” by the scientists working in the area.
According to the biologist Vladimir Burkanov, who is currently working in the area, the ᴀʟʙɪɴᴏ seal pup 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,” Burkanov told. “Other seals don’t pay too much attention to it in a somewhat worrying manner, so something is not quite right with it.”
The animal kingdom has its fair share of albinism cases like this one. It’s often challenging for ᴀʟʙɪɴᴏ animals to make it in the wild. Many times their eyesight is poor making them easy prey to ᴘʀᴇᴅᴀᴛᴏʀs or ᴘᴏᴀᴄʜᴇʀs looking for exotic animals. Also, they are not exactly on top of the eligible bachelor’s pool.
Dr. Burkanov said that it also seems that his eyesight is poor, so it will probably be difficult for him in terms of ᴍᴀᴛɪɴɢ. Currently, the team of scientists is attentive to any changes in the group behavior towards the ginger seal pup in case they need to intervene and take him to a safer place where he can develop further.
This is not the first case of an ᴀʟʙɪɴᴏ northern fur seal. They spotted one in 2011 at the same site (Tyuleniy Island). They called that one Nafanya and researchers took it to the Sochi Dolphinarium on the Black Sea.

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