Rare giant albino panda caught on camera for the first time ever, scientists say
This is the first ever instance of the albino giant panda being caught on film in its natural habitat in the forests of China. The panda was found prowling in the Wolong National Nature Reserve.
A fully grown and rare albino giant panda was filmed for the first time in the bamboo forests of China as reported by CNN. The fact that pandas too show albinism was known but a specimen had never before been caught on camera. The footage was captured on infrared cameras planted in the forest to observe and monitor wildlife activities for research purposes.
The image of the panda was obtained in Sichuan province, southwest China. The panda was found prowling in the Wolong National Nature Reserve which is about 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) above sea level. Experts believe that this panda could be anywhere between one to two-year-old, making the sighting even more special as it is a fully grown specimen.
After this discovery, researchers are further looking into the different aspects of its development. Researchers are trying to establish if it has any relation with the other giant pandas in the area and if its mutation could have any adverse effects on the panda population in the reserve. Since this is the first time such a specimen was captured in camera, the researchers are also looking for its mating partner and are working to understand how it is adapting to its natural surroundings.
Animals with albinism are essentially those which lack melanin or other skin pigments which give them color. The skin pigments play a major role in the development of animals as it helps them adapt to the environment. Albinism, on the other hand, makes them more vulnerable to external predators and spotting them in the wild becomes easier. Further, albino animals have also been reported to have poorer eyesight which makes it extremely difficult for them to look for food. It is not yet known if this panda suffers from poor eyesight but that is another aspect the researchers are looking into.
The giant panda, native to China, has been classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which means that they are dangerously close to being endangered and need immediate attention. The WWF census estimates that currently there could be only 1,864 pandas alive in the wild but the good news is that since the last census their numbers have increased by 16.8%. The authorities in the Wolong Reserve are planning to install a lot more cameras to observe the behavior of the albino panda and to keep track of how it interacts with other pandas in the reserve.
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