The pandas are known for their hairy black and white markings 🐼, which is why the wildlife experts were amazed to see an all white panda red-eyed walk through a bamboo forest 🎋 in China in April 2019.
This wild giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is the first albino known of its kind.
"Judging by the pictures, the panda is an albino 1 to 2 years old, "said Li Sheng, assistant professor of biology 🔬 of conservation at Peking University, specializing in bears 🐻, on Chinese Central Television (CCTV), a Chinese news channel.
The researchers took a photo 📸 of this rare bear using an infrared camera (a device that produces images showing differences in heat) in Wolong National Nature Reserve, located in Sichuan Province of China. The photo was taken on April 20, but wildlife officials announced the discovery on May 25.
At the time of the improvised photo shoot, albino panda 🐼 wandered in a bamboo forest 🎋 at about 2,000 meters above sea level. It is one of the approximately 1,900 pandas that live in the wild. According to the Smithsonian National Zoo, 300 other pandas live in captivity in zoos and breeding centers.
A 2017 study found that pandas are likely sporting their iconic black and white coloring because it helps them hide in snow and shade. The big ones dark circles around the eyes of pandas can also help the Bears to recognize each other, the researchers found 🔬 of this study.
Little is known about this phantom panda 👻 newly identified. Albinism is a condition in which individuals do not have pigmentation in the skin, eyes or hair. In humans, albinism may increase the risk of vision problems and skin cancer. In nature, albinism makes animals more vulnerable to predators because they have difficulty hiding.
Fortunately, the albino panda does not seem to have all symptoms 🤒 of this genetic abnormality.
“The panda looked strong, and its footsteps were steady, a sign that the genetic mutation may not have hindered its life entirely,” Li told CCTV.
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In Panda universe, we have no doubts about negative impact that humans have on their environment. This is why we are engaged in the cause of the panda. Save the panda is not just about protecting a species. Saving the panda is saving many, because the panda is what we call an "umbrella" species. Save the panda, so it's saving everything an ecosystem in general. Public awareness of the cause of the panda is the key to safeguarding many other lesser known species. 🐾