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Albino gains seal of approval from Orkney colony

A young albino harbour seal was recently spotted off Shapinsay. (Mervyn Rendall)

Despite the odds, an Orkney seal colony appears to have accepted a rather unusual specimen into its midst.

An albino harbour seal, recently spotted off Shapinsay, has delighted islanders with its cheery disposition and unusual appearance — and though it may look a bit different from the rest of its friends and family, they love their pink-eyed cousin just the same.

There were initially concerns for the seal, which first came to the attention of Orkney Seal Rescue’s Ross Flett last October. But Mr Flett told The Orcadian this week that he seems to be thriving, as he moves into his second winter at sea.

“It’s obviously been accepted by its mother, and other harbour seals within that colony, due to the fact that it is often observed within the colony and has been well fed from its mother,” Mr Flett explained.

“No visible injuries have been noticed, which would obviously indicate aggression from other seals.

“With a harbour seal, it’s not so easy to determine whether it’s male or female, as it is with grey seals, who have distinct facial features.

“It has been frequently observed and photographed within the colony, which would indicate that it has been accepted as just another seal.”

Orkney Seal Rescue has asked folk to not attempt to approach the albino seal or its colony, and to stay at a respectful distance if you do happen to spot them. The seal was recently spotted cheerfully posing for the camera — from a safe distance — by Mervyn Rendall, from Shapinsay.

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