A nature reserve in China has captured a sighting of what is believed to be the world’s first image of an albino panda.
The Wolong national nature reserve in the south-western province of Sichuan released a photo taken in April of an all-white giant panda in the wild, crossing through a forest.
Scientists later determined the animal’s appearance – its all–white body and reddish eyes – were caused by albinism, a rare genetic condition in which there is a total or partial lack of the skin pigment melanin. The sex could not be determined from the photo, taken by an infrared camera installed in December last year to monitor wildlife in the area.
Authorities said the reserve would install more infrared cameras to track the albino panda and its development. Scientists also expressed hope of seeing its offspring. “If we can capture the next generation, the research value will be even greater,” the researchers said.