- The rare white panda is not only missing its spots, but it also has red eyes
There is only one known albino panda in the world, and recent video footage shows it to be alive and thriving.
Infrared cameras at the Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan, China, recorded the panda, which was last seen in 2019.
The images, which were captured in February 2023, show the adult panda walking through snowy mountains and even getting close to another panda and its cubs.
The rare white panda is not only missing its spots, but also has red eyes, which points to albinism as opposed to other genetic mutations that would cause white fur.
Experts believe this panda, which is one of about 150 that call the reserve home, is 5 or 6 years old. While the white panda’s sex is currently a mystery, the animal is reaching sexual maturity, so it will soon become apparent.
The cameras captured quite a few images of the albino panda, but one thing really caught the attention of experts.
The interaction of the white panda with the mother panda and her cubs was very interesting.
While the mother panda eventually drives the white panda away, she doesn’t seem particularly threatened by its presence.
“The cub in the pictures is between one and two years old, and the all-white panda is almost the size of an adult,” shared Wei Rongping, a senior engineer with the China Center for Conservation and Research of Giant Pandas.
“At the end of February, wild pandas in Wolong have entered rutting season, during which female pandas with cubs can be very aggressive when approached or invaded by an adult panda.
“This female panda was extremely ‘calm’ and did not conform to the general rule. One possibility is that the female panda is the mother of the all-white panda.”
That theory seems to be supported by the fact that the cameras captured at least 15 situations in which the three bears crossed paths in a short period of time.
Officials were happy to see the white panda, as it is believed to be the first recorded albino panda since official documentation began.
Since albinism is rare and panda populations are low, it is even more surprising to find a white panda.
The researchers hope to get close enough at some point that they can collect a DNA sample, which will give them answers about the panda’s genetics.
And surely, they will also keep an eye on any offspring to see if and how albinism can be passed on.