The first confirmed sighting of a leucistic Southern elephant seal has occurred on a beach on Marion Island, fairly near Antarctica. The entire seal is creamy white, except for eyes and nose which sports the brown colour normally seen in elephant seals.

It’s quite something in a species which is well-known,” says Ryan Reisinger of the University of Pretoria in South Africa, one of the researchers who discovered the seal.

There have been a few rare previous records of lighter coloured elephant seals, but none of these animals have been confirmed as leucistic. Reisinger and his colleagues have been researching Marion Island elephant seals for several years without ever encountering a leucistic specimen before.

See a picture of the seal here.