A scientist has shared new footage of a close encounter he had with a rare albino seal on Russia’s Tyuleny Island last month.
The ginger, blue-eyed seal pup was spotted by biologist Vladimir Burkanov, who named it Ugly Duckling. It proved popular with Instagram users, but its chances of survival are uncertain.
The seal would have poor eyesight, researchers say, and it may be rejected by the wider seal 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 an adult 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