CHENGDU: The world’s only all-white panda surfaced again in southwest China’s Sichuan province, with a brand-new look of golden-white fur, as videos released on Friday by authorities showed.
The panda was first spotted after infrared cameras captured it about 2,000m above sea level in the Wolong National Nature Reserve in April 2019.
With no spots on its body and unique red eyes, the panda was concluded to be an albino, hitherto the only one of its kind anywhere on earth.
In February 2020, the panda was once again spotted in the reserve.
After three days of trekking across forests and brooks, it was then caught on cameras set up about 1km away on a mountain ridge.
It took the panda about 10 minutes to reach the foot of the mountain before it vanished into the unknown.
“It has grown up a lot and has a sturdy physique. Judging from pictures, the panda is now about three years old and the snow-white fur of its limbs has become tinged with a golden hue, ” said Tan Yingchun, with the reserve’s protection and research project on the white giant panda.
Since the panda was alone in both video footages, the researchers believe that it has left the nest and is living on its own.
The videos have shown that the white panda is in good shape, said Li Sheng, a researcher with Peking University and a specialist in bears.
Li also explained that albinism exists in different vertebrate species and the albino mutation can inhibit melanin synthesis in an animal’s body, making the animal appear white, golden-white or pastel golden.
The albino mutation is a recessive gene. Only when the parent pandas both carry the gene can the baby show the albino traits. — China Daily/ANN