All-White, Albino Panda Captured on Camera for the First Time in Chinese Forest
Experts believe the rare bear is around 2 years old and "looks quite well"
Around Memorial Day weekend — right when the fashion rules say it’s alright to wear head-to-toe white — the first known photo of an all-white, albino panda was debuted to the world.
According to the New York Times, the picture of the rare bear was taken by an infrared camera in April at the Wolong National Nature Reserve in China’s Sichuan province. Experts believe is it the first fully albino giant panda to be photographed.
Albinism, a genetic condition known to affect at least 8 bear species, prevents the body from producing a the normal amount of melanin – a chemical that affects the pigmentation of an animal’s eyes, hair and skin. While the condition is rare, it is even more unlikely to see a wild animal with albinism, since their bright coloration usually makes them an easy target for predators.
“Based on the photo, albinism has not affected the life of the white panda much,” said Dr. Li Sheng, of Peking University and the Species Survival Commission of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, told the New York Times. “It looks quite well, quite strong.”
Experts like Dr. Li think the unique panda is around 2 years old, reports CNN. The nature reserve where the animal was spotted plans to set up more cameras in hopes of capturing the albino panda’s growth and development.
According to BBC, albinism has been documented in pandas before, but those bears were brown and white, not all-white.