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Movements of Rare Albino Giant Panda Spotted in Chinese Nature Reserve

New footage of what could be the world’s only albino giant panda has been released by a nature reserve in China’s Sichuan province.

The all-white panda was spotted through infrared cameras in the Wolong National Nature Reserve for the first time since 2019.

The Reserve hasn’t released footage of the panda since it was spotted as a cub four years ago, offering scientists an opportunity to study its health and genetic characteristics.

“This individual may have been the first wild all-white giant panda recorded since official documentation began,” Li Sheng, a researcher with Peking University said.

Albino animals often suffer from various diseases caused by genetic defects that result in abnormalities.

But the panda has defied expectations, as it is now five or six years old and has shown no signs of significant health problems.

The video shows it interacting with a mother panda and her cub resting in a tree hollow.

It also captured the white panda playing with other pandas.

Professor Li said the interactions are a good sign.

“So far we can tell that the white panda is doing very well in its species group and in the natural environment,” he said.

Researchers believe the mother panda and cub could be related to the all-white panda.

The deputy managing director of the nature reserve is hopeful DNA can be captured to learn more about the 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,” Tingmei He said.

With no spots on its body and unique red eyes, the wild giant panda appears to be exhibiting sexual maturity and normal courtship behaviours.

But they are yet to determine if its physical traits could be passed on.

In order to track the white giant panda for research purposes, the reserve management administration set up a conservation and research project for this special creature.

More than 30 experts from universities, scientific research institutions and the reserve worked together for a year to install and monitor infrared cameras over the 15-square-kilometre area where the white giant panda was spotted.

From 2016 to 2020, the population of wild giant pandas in China has risen to 1,864, according to the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.

Source: ABC News