Last week, we covered a rare all-white grizzly bear photographed in Canada. Now, here’s an albino panda in China. According to China Daily, infrared cameras installed at Wolong National Nature Reserve captured footage of the all-white bear in February. The video shows the unusual animal approaching a regular sow panda with one cub in the country’s southwestern region.
February is mating season for pandas in China, and bears can become defensive, especially mothers with cubs, but the animals in the footage appear calm, leading researchers to speculate that they are related. “The cub in the footage is about one to two years old, and the all-white panda is nearly the size of an adult,” said Wei Rongping, China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas senior engineer. “This female panda was extremely calm and did not behave as expected. One possibility is that she is the mother of the all-white panda.” See the rare interaction for yourself below.
Researchers say that the panda’s red eyes mean it’s almost certainly a full albino and not a color-phase bear. Albinism is a genetic disorder that results in the absence of pigmentation. The odds of it happening in wild animals is extremely rare. China Daily reports that the albino panda recently filmed is the only one in the world known to humans. It was first documented as a cub in 2019.
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Albinism can lead to reduced survival rates in the wild because the animals aren’t able to blend into their surroundings as well as those with normal pigmentation. So far, though, the albino panda appears to be doing fine.
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