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The albino seal Sealas
A few years ago we took in a seal pup with albinism. You don't see that very often! The first thing to notice was that she had red eyes and a normal coat. A special form of albinism (ocular albinism) that we had not seen before in the Sealcentre before. Read more about the special story of seal Sealas here.
A seal with albinism
Sealas was lying on the beach near Noordwijk with injuries on her mouth. But what stood out the most were the seal's eyes. These were red. Red eyes only occur in seals with albinism. Just like a completely white coat. Remarkably, Sealas did not have this white fur. The name Sealas was inspired by the DaVince Code monk with albinism: Silas.
Sealas had a special form of albinism. This form of albinism had never been seen before in centres. Albinism is a congenital pigment defect. The pigment melanin is completely or partially missing which affects the color of the eyes, skin and coat. The opposite can also happen: there is an excess of melanin. That's called melanism . In recent years, several grey seals with melanism have been taken in at the Sealcentre. The fur of the seal is then completely black.
A seal with albinism is more sensitive to light than other seals. It makes little difference with hunting, they do that under water. But above water they are at risk. The sun is dangerous for their sensitive skin and eyes. The fact that Sealas didn't have white fur made it a little easier for her.
The recovery of seal Sealas
She had a hole in her palate. That makes eating difficult for seals. It is also a time-consuming treatment because the palate recovers very slowly. After a month of being in intensive care, the wound in Sealas' mouth was almost healed and she was allowed to go to the outside pool. She was very impressed with that. Her rosy, light skin made her particularly distinguishable among the other harbor seals.
Sealas has been released from the beach of Schiermonnikoog after two and a half months of rehabilitation.
Rehabilitation for the second time
Six months later, a seal was reported on the beach at Bergen aan Zee. This seal was disturbed by a passerby. The local seal guard therefore took her from the beach and discovered that it was Sealas. Unfortunately, she had visited a rather busy beach to rest. Because she looked special, she attracted a lot of attention from passersby. That is why she had to be taken in from the beach by the seal guard.
She was brought to the Sealcentre where she was taken care of. Fortunately, Sealas was in reasonable health and was released after a month. Back to the Wadden Sea!