Rare all-white panda spotted on camera in SW China's Sichuan

The world's only known all-white panda has been captured on infrared cameras in the Wolong National Nature Reserve in southwest China's Sichuan Province, the reserve management authorities said on Saturday.

At the end of February, images of the white panda were captured by an infrared camera about 2,300 meters above sea level in the wild with a black-and-white mother panda and a baby panda, the authorities said.

The nature reserve also captured images of the white panda playing with other pandas.

"Presently, it seems that the white giant panda is just an individual one. So far, we can tell that the white panda is doing very well in its species group and in the natural environment," said Li Sheng, a researcher at Peking University.

The distinct panda came into view when its figure was captured by infrared cameras at a separate site approximately 2,000 meters above sea level in April 2019. With no spots on its body and unique red eyes, the wild giant panda was determined to be an albino, making it the only one of its kind on Earth. 

Researchers discovered that the white panda has reached sexual maturity and has exhibited normal courtship behaviors.

The staff at the nature reserve are attempting to collect DNA samples from the white panda to learn more about this rare creature. 

"By means of the current investigation, experiments and tests, we are trying to find out whether there are other white pandas in this area and what is their status quo," said He Tingmei, deputy managing director of the nature reserve.

The Wolong National Nature Reserve, situated 130 kilometers from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, is the core of the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries, one of China's World Natural Heritages.

Established in 1963, the reserve is the country's oldest, largest and most renowned panda reserve. It was added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's Man and Biosphere Reserve Network in 1980.

(Cover image via VCG.)

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