Un-bear-livable! World’s only known ALBINO panda is caught on camera roaming in the wild in China
- Footage and images show the panda with its all-white body strolling in Sichuan
- It was spotted by multiple infrared cameras installed in the local nature reserve
- The incredibly rare animal appeared to be ‘physically strong with a steady gait’
- The albino panda was photographed for the first time in the same region in 2019
An extremely rare albino panda that is the world’s only known one of its kind has been caught on infrared cameras while roaming in the wild in China.
Footage and pictures released Friday show the bear with its golden-white fur wandering through the forest in the Wolong National Nature Reserve of south-western Sichuan Province early last year.
The animal was initially spotted in the same region in 2019 as the local officials captured what is believed to be the world’s first image of an albino panda.
An extremely rare albino panda that was the first of its kind to be photographed has been caught on infrared cameras again (pictured) while roaming in the wild in China
The animal was initially spotted in the same region in 2019 (pictured) as the local officials captured what is believed to be the world’s first image of an albino panda
An albino panda, whose condition is caused by a genetic mutation, is incredibly rare, given how infrequently albinism occurs and that the animal belongs to a vulnerable species.
About 1,864 giant pandas are living in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Around 600 of them are in captivity around the world as of last year, reported state news agency Xinhua.
The albino panda spotted in China was first sighted in April 2019 before the local authorities released a photo in the following month.
The spotless, red-eyed animal was photographed by an infrared camera while trekking through the forest about 2,000 metres (6,562 feet) above sea level. The panda was thought, at the time, to be aged one to two years old.
After spotting the incredibly rare animal, officials at the Wolong National Nature Reserve designated a 15-people team and covered the local areas with infrared cameras to monitor the albino panda’s activities.
On February 16, 2019, one of the cameras caught the all-white bear strolling through the snow-covered forest on its own.
The panda was facing the camera with its back the whole time during a three-minute clip, appearing to be in deep thought, said a statement by China’s Giant Panda National Park
On February 16, 2019, one of the cameras caught the all-white bear strolling on the snow-covered field on its own at the nature reserve in Wolong, southwest China’s Sichuan Province
The panda was facing the camera with its back the whole time during a three-minute clip, appearing to be in deep thought, said a statement by China’s Giant Panda National Park.
Three days later, the panda appeared again and was caught on a different camera installed in the mountains about one kilometre (0.62 miles) away.
Within ten minutes, the animal was spotted arriving at the bottom of the mountain while a camera captured it walking away.
Judging by the footage and images, the animal aged around three years old appeared to have grown noticeably with its fur now turning faintly golden, said Li Sheng, a researcher and bear specialist for International Union for Conservation of Nature.
He added that the animal appeared ‘physically strong with a steady gait’, meaning that it had well-adapted to its environment and was in a healthy state.
Pandas are currently listed as a vulnerable species, which means that while their survival is still threatened, conservation efforts have helped reduce their danger of extinction (file photo)
As no further sightings of the animal has been recorded after last February, the animal is believed to be a female panda that has left her mother to move elsewhere and live on her own as an adult.
The local team of researchers is planning to expand their monitoring areas to study this particular albino panda and its kind further.
Pandas are currently listed as a vulnerable species, which means that while their survival is still threatened, conservation efforts have helped reduce their danger of extinction.
Brown pandas, whose fur colour is also considered to be caused by a mutation, have previously been sighted in the Qingling mountains of Shaanxi province.
Where do brown pandas live?
Qizai (pictured) is the only brown-and-white panda in captivity in the world
China’s Shaanxi Province is the only place in the world where brown-and-white giant pandas have been spotted.
Only 10 sightings of brown pandas have been recorded, and all of them took place in the central Qinling Mountains.
Qizai, whose name means the ‘seventh son’, was rescued as a cub at two months old in the wild after apparently being abandoned by his mother.
He was previously thought to be the only living brown panda in the world until a wild panda with the same colour pattern was spotted roaming in a nature reserve in Shaanxi in March, 2018.
The Qinling Mountain pandas are considered a different sub-species from the pandas found in other mountain ranges – namely in south-west China’s Sichuan Province and north-west China’s Gansu Province.
A new panda research base, Qinling Giant Panda Research Centre, was established in 2018 to study pandas from the Qinling Mountains.
Based in Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province, the centre’s main goal is to decode brown pandas’ special hair colour.
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