For the first time in history, a camera has captured the image of an all-white, albino panda. And it is winning hearts everywhere.
The picture first of its kind released on Sunday, May 26 by scientists at Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan.
The panda was just walking through a reserve when the motion activated cameras took his picture in mid-April. The local conservation authorities assume that the creature is about one-two years old.
An official statement released by them says, “There is a ‘whitening’ mutant gene in the giant panda population in Wolong.” In the photo, the panda has white hair, white claws, and red eyes.
When mammals inherit one or more mutated genes from both parents, their body’s production of melanin – the main pigment that determines the color of skin, fur, and eyes – is altered.
However, albino animals are at greater risk from predators since they can be spotted easily.
The panda is apparently ‘physically strong’ and has a ‘steady gait’. Since albinism doesn’t really interfere with the body structure or physiological functions of a mammal, it doesn’t really affect the daily life of the panda.
If the panda were to have kids, the mutation might pass to the next generation. And when it happens, the reserve will keep a close eye on the process.
The camera, which has been there since December, will have more additions in the reserve for updates on the panda. The researches are also looking to tracking it and how it forms relationships with other pandas.
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