The world’s only known albino panda was spotted in Wolong at the South West province of China known as Sichuan. The videos of the animal were recorded by the Sichuan Wolong National Nature Reserve Administration in February 2020. Both the videos have been released on the WeChat account of the Giant Panda National Park recently. Reportedly, in one of the videos, the all-white panda can be seen close to a tree with its back towards the camera. Another video was recorded three days after the first one and shows the panda crossing small rivers.
As reported by Global Times, the second video is 10 minutes long and was recorded by a camera that was a kilometre away on a mountain ridge. After observing the panda in these videos, experts like Li Sheng, a researcher and bear specialist for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), are saying that the animal must be three years old. The panda with bright white fur has a strong body and thus appears to be healthy.
This is not the first time that the albino panda was recorded in China. In May 2019, the all-white panda was first recorded by the camera at the natural reservoir. It was the first time ever that an albino panda was spotted. When it was spotted in 2019, experts had said that the animal was a year or two old.
Experts believe that this is a female who seems to be living independently and is no more under the care of her mother.
Pandas are an extremely rare species with only 1,864 of them in the world in 2014, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF, previously known as World Wildlife Fund). Albino pandas are understandably even lesser in numbers because the condition that makes pandas completely white is a rare genetic mutation. Due to this mutation, there is a partial or complete loss of the skin pigment melanin and as a result, the pandas become white.
There are several programmes which have been launched by the government in China to protect pandas. Around 80 percent of the total panda population lives in Sichuan while the rest are divided between two other provinces in China, namely Shaanxi and Gansu.
The country is known for its panda diplomacy as it sends the animals to other countries as a sign of close relations with those countries.
According to a Daily Mail report, a local team of researchers plans to expand their monitoring areas soon in order to study the albino panda and its kind.