A rare albino fur seal spotted by biologist Vladimir Burkanov amongst a colony on Russia’s Tyuleny Island proved popular with Instagram users after Burkanov posted footage, 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 color.
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 color to adulthood,” Burkanov wrote, indicating Ugly Duckling may have a chance of making it in the wild after all. Credit: Vladimir Burkanov via Storyful