Dr. Vladimir Burkanov has dedicated his life to a vision of turning the Kuril Islands into marine protected areas and national parks to safeguard their beauty for future generations, protect biodiversity and improve overexploited coastal and oceanic ecosystems.
Dr. Burkanov recently found a beautiful and rare seal pup, born less than a month ago on the island of Tyuleny in the Sea of Okhotsk. The majority of the sea's islands are uninhabited making them ideal breeding grounds for seals, sea lions, seabirds, and other sea island fauna.
Experts say the chances of such a partial albino birth are one in 100,000, and there is a risk of rejection by the rookery as happened some years ago with another seal called Nafanya.
"Other seals don't pay too much attention to it in a somewhat worrying manner, so something is not quite right with it," says Dr. Burkanov. "This pup looks well-fed and was very active, so its mother clearly gave it plenty of milk." However, the little ginger seal is not getting chased or bitten, as would be expected, I assume. The seal is thought to have bad eyesight, and Dr. Burkanov reckons it's unlikely it will ever successfully breed.
If rejected by the other animals, Dr. Burkanov is ready to step in with his team and rescue the rare creature.
This happened before with a seal named Nafanya who was abandoned by its mother and rejected by its tribe. He has a new home in an aquarium and is five or six years old.