‘Ugly duckling’, the albino sea lion pup being rejected by its kind for being different


The “ugly duckling”, this is the name given to a one-month-old albino sea lion pup on the island of Tyuleny in Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk for being rejected by its kind for being different.

“This puppy appears to be well fed and very active, so his mother clearly gave him a lot of milk. Other seals don’t pay much attention to him in a somewhat disturbing way, so something is not quite right with him. But they don’t chase or bite him,” explained marine mammal biologist Vladimir Burkanov.

Studies shows that the chances of an albino sea lion birth are one in 100,000.

As rare as it is, the probability of being rejected by its colony is very high. This happened a few years ago with another seal named Nafanya.

Vladimir Burkanov also explained that similar to all other recorded cases of total and partial albino, the seal has poor vision. He also highlighted the fact that its chances of aging and reproducing are low or negative.

However, a case of a partially albino adult seal was recently recorded on the side of the Severo-Zapadnoe colony on Bering Island.

“He did not participate in the breeding this season and was only seen in the singles section of the colony. Perhaps this is the first documented case of the survival of a northern fur seal of an abnormal color to adulthood,” said the biologist.

Scientists will monitor the “ugly duckling” to see if it is rejected and ensure its survival.