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World’s one and only white giant panda in China is healthy and happy

The albino Giant Panda in Wolong National Nature Reserve in China interacts with other pandas without any problem (Pic. Courtesy sciencealert.com)

It has all the features that make giant pandas cute and cuddleable except that it is completely white. The world’s first and the sole albino panda has finally made it past a motion-sensitive field camera in the mountains in China. It is the first time it has obliged after it had been spotted in 2019.

As per a report in sciencealert.com, this rare animal despite its unique appearance looks healthy and happy in Wolong National Nature Reserve in China’s Sichuan Province. This UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2006 is a protected region that has 150 giant pandas of which only one is white.

This single animal drawing attention has genetic mutation which is rare and changes the black-and-white fur into uniform pale cream colour. The mutation in the genes affects its eyes, hair and skin and could possibly be the cause of a disease too. Yet even after four years, no sign of sickness has been seen in the panda so far.

A footage which has been released by China’s state broadcaster shows the all-white creature socialising with a mother panda and her two-year-old cub.

Talking about this, Wei Rongping engineer from the China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Pandas told China Daily: “By the end of February, adult wild pandas in Wolong are in the estrus (mating) season, during which female pandas with cubs can be very aggressive when an adult panda approaches or invades. 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.”

Apart from this other field cameras in the sanctuary also documented more than a dozen further interactions between the black-and-white pandas in the area and the albino. There is a video also as per the South China Morning Post that has the black-and-white pandas playing with the white one.

Scientists don’t know the albino’s gender and hope future footage will provide an indication or they may have to run a DNA test on it. They are not sure that in case the albino mates, will it have cubs like itself or will they be normal black-and-white.