Extremely rare albino seal is spotted in the wild, and he’s the ‘ugly duckling’ of the colony

Some animals are born looking different or unusual. While some people might say these creatures are “ugly,” others might find them unique — or even beautiful.

One biologist happened to find a rare, one-of-a-kind animal who seems to have been shunned by his colony because of the way he looks, but we think he’s one cute creature.

When biologist Vladimir Burkanov visited the seal colony on Tyuleny Island in the Sea of Okhotsk, Russia, one stood out in the crowd: among the dark-colored seals, there was one “ginger” seal, with blue eyes and pink flippers:


It was an extraordinary sighting of an albino seal: according to Daily Mail, there’s only a one in 100,000 chance of an albino birth.

“Albino fur seal is rare event,” Burkanov wrote on Instagram. “They more looks red than white. This is a clear albino without any pigmentation even in eyes.”

He nicknamed the unusual animal the “ugly duckling.”

Sadly, the others in his colony don’t seem to have fully accepted the different-looking seal. It isn’t clear to what extent this “ugly duckling” is an outcast, but if it becomes clear he won’t survive in the wild he will be rescued by wildlife specialists.

“This pup looks well fed and was very active, so its mother clearly gave it plenty of milk,” Burkanov told Daily Mail. “Other seals don’t pay too much attention to it in a somewhat worrying manner, so something is not quite right with it.”

The seal also suffers from poor eyesight, and it’s unlikely he’ll breed at mating season.

As the photo of the pup went viral, Burkanov shared a photo of another albino seal, one who has successfully survived in the wild.

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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

This albino is now a 5-6 year old bull seal. Like the pup, he has poor eyesight and doesn’t participate in mating, but has survived in the wild.

“He did not participate in reproduction this season and was seen on the bachelor section of the rookery only,” Burkanov wrote on Instagram. “Perhaps, this is the first documented case of the survival of a northern fur seal of an abnormal color to adulthood.”

So there is hope that this unique seal pup will be able to survive in the wild after all.

He may be an “ugly duckling,” but we love this one-of-a-kind seal pup! We hope he is able to thrive in his natural habitat despite his unique appearance.

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