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Wild

Rare ginger seal is shunned by his colony, forcing rescuers to intervene

September 22nd, 2020

Just like us humans, animals come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes they can be born with physical traits that make them a little different from the rest.

When it comes to pets, those who are born with differences aren’t often discriminated against (I think we can all admit that a dog with no back legs or a kitten without a tail would instantly melt our hearts). But out in the wild, sadly, it’s often a different story.

We’ve heard countless stories of the smallest, weakest animal being shunned from the litter from the mom, but it turns out that even when a wild animal is born a different color to the standard norm, that can be enough for the litter to turn on them! So when a unique-colored ginger seal was born on an island off the coast of Russia, researchers decided to keep a close eye on the rare pup. Just take a look at these beautiful photos!

The golden seal was first spotted on the island of Tyuleny in the sea of Okhotsk, Russia, where a large colony of seals has made their home. Despite all of his siblings having soot colored fur, the rare pup had been born with a shock of ginger fur, blue eyes, and pink flippers, due to him being partially albino.

Vladimir Burkanov, a marine mammal biologist, first spotted the pup during a field trip to the island, and since then, the team has been keeping an eye on the little guy.

He took some adorable pictures and videos of the pup which he shared onto his Instagram, and we can’t believe that someone this special could ever be shunned.

View this post on Instagram

Альбинос-хромист – продолжение: Фотография котика альбиноса, или более правильно будет сказать – хромиста, вызвала интерес у и вопросы у посетителей. Я помню осенью 2017 года на лежбище Северо-Западном острова Беринга мой бывший студент, а теперь коллега, работающий на Командорских островах, Сергей Фомин фотографировал самца-холостяка такой же необычной окраски. Он был хорошо упитан, хотя имел явные проблемы со зрением. Я обратился к нему за уточнением возраста того альбиноса, и Сергей сообщил мне, что видел и снял этого же самца в этом году! И на том же самом месте Северо-Западного лежбища, где он его фотографировал осенью 2017 года. Теперь он уже секач, достиг половой зрелости и ему 5-6 лет. Но находился на нерепродуктивной части лежбища. Т.е. в размножение в этом сезоне не вступал. Пожалуй, это первый документально зафиксированный случай дожития котика аномальной окраски до половозрелого возраста. Albino fur seal – continued: A photo of an albino (partial albino or chromist) fur seal pup aroused the interest of visitors to my page. I tried to find information on the age of similar unusual color of young fur seal, my former student, and now a colleague Sergey Fomin photographed at the Severo-Zapadnoe rookery on the Bering Island in fall 2017. The animal was 2 or 3 years old and physically in good shape, even it was clear it had poor sight. I turned to him to clarify the age of that albino, and Sergeн replayed me that he had seen and photographed the same male this summer again! In the exact location of the Severo-Zapadnoe rookery, where he photographed the animal in the fall of 2017. The albino is now matured bull 5-6 years old. 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 color to adulthood.

A post shared by Vladimir Burkanov (@bigdaddivladi) on

But sadly, animals in the wild often have a different way of thinking about things – and despite the seal pup appearing strikingly beautiful to us, to his brothers and sisters, there is a chance that he will be seen as the ‘ugly duckling’ of the group.

Past evidence has left researchers weary, after a few years ago, another ginger seal called Nafanya was rejected by its peers because of its unique looks.

Apparently, partial albino births are rare at one in 100,000, so this pup is certainly something special. Although there is minimal evidence that the seal has been shunned from the group yet, Burkanov and his group are still keeping an eye on events as they unfold.

“This pup looks well fed and was very active, so its mother clearly gave it plenty of milk,” Burkanov told the Siberian Times. “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.”

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Instagram Source: Instagram

The ginger seal seems to have poor eyesight, and his chances of breeding are little to none, but we’d like to think that the sweet little guy will eventually be accepted by his peers. If not, then researchers will be on hand to help! We wish him the best of luck.

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Source: Siberian Times, bigdaddivladi

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