Scientists spot their first albino panda

I couldn’t resist adding this tweet, which just arrived from Matthew, to the morning’s selection. With its pink eyes, this panda looks like a true albino, and I hope it will be okay. (They have no predators as adults, so its conspicuous color isn’t a detriment, and all they have to do is find bamboo.)

The South China Morning Post reports that the beast was spotted on the Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan:

China on Saturday released the world’s first ever photograph of an albino giant panda in the wild.

The image of the bear walking through the Wolong National Nature Reserve in the southwestern province of Sichuan last month was captured by a motion activated camera at an altitude of about 2,000 metres above sea level, China News Service reported.

It clearly shows the animal’s unique physical characteristics including its snowy white hair and claws, and red eyes.

“This is the first time a fully albino wild giant panda has been caught on camera, indicating there must be a gene mutation in the giant panda population,” Li Sheng, a researcher at Peking University’s School of Life Sciences, was quoted as saying.
A scientist guessed the panda to be between one and two years old.

“Judging from the photo, the panda is physically strong and taking steady steps, suggesting the gene mutation is not affecting its normal life.”

Panda color variants, however, aren’t unknown. This one looks like a leucistic panda though it’s mistakenly labeled as an albino:

7 Comments

  1. mallardbrad
    Posted May 26, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    One of the many reasons I enjoy your blog so very much are the contributions of scientists, naturalists and non-scientists from around the world. Every day is a new learning experience. Keep posting, PLEASE!

    • Ross Foley
      Posted May 26, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Seconded!

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted May 26, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Sub

  3. DrBrydon
    Posted May 26, 2019 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    In the first photo he looks like Winnie the Pooh.

  4. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted May 26, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    For one reason or other I’m not particularly keen on albinos. In many species, like eg. snakes they are more highly valued by collectors, but I never understood why.
    In pandas too, the beautiful eye marks are kinda missing.

  5. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted May 27, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Panda to spectacled bear : “why are you trying to be negative?”

    Sorry.

  6. zoolady
    Posted May 27, 2019 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    I agree–this animal is leucistic, rather than truly albino. BUT–imagine seeing it in moonlight? WOW!


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