Rare albino giant panda spotted again at China’s Wolong natural reserve

albino giant panda

albino giant panda

Once more, observers have spotted a rare albino giant panda , possibly the only one of its kind, in the wild in southwestern China. State broadcaster CCTV reported on Saturday (May 27) that the Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan province had released video of the all-white animal.

The report stated that observers noticed the panda to be in good health and made an estimate that it was five or six years old. The distinctive animal was first spotted by the nature reserve’s cameras in April 2019, at about 2,000m above sea level. The reserve released the first images of the animal in May that year, showing its white fur and claws and red eyes.

Reserve authorities had since set up a special team to monitor the panda, according to CCTV. The researchers studied the bear’s possible routines, and installed and adjusted motion-activated cameras to capture its movements.

The new footage also shows the albino giant panda interacting with several other regular black-and-white giant pandas at an altitude of about 2,600m above sea level, according to a report from state-run People’s Daily.

“We have recorded the first albino giant panda in the wild.”

Li Sheng, a researcher at Peking University’s school of life sciences, quoted in the CCTV report, said, “We have recorded the first albino giant panda in the wild.” It is still unclear whether its gene will be inherited and steadily passed on in the small panda population, and more follow-up research is needed,” he said.

China also discovered 10 rare brown giant pandas in the wild between 1985 and 2021, according to state media. Among them, researchers first spotted a male named Qizai in November 2009 at the Foping National Nature Reserve in northwestern China’s Shaanxi province.

Qizai, discovered when he was about two months old, has been living in captivity at a panda breeding research centre in Shaanxi. Researchers spotted the first brown panda, a female named Dandan, in 1985. They mated her with a regular black-and-white giant panda, and she gave birth to three cubs, all of which were black-and-white. Dandan died of cancer in 2000.

Giant pandas are native to China and mainly live in the mountains of Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. China’s 2021 biodiversity report said there were about 1,860 of them in the wild.

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