Albino panda seen in the wild – extremely rare

Photograph: AFP / Getty Images

Thought to be the first time, this albino panda was photographed in the world. While occasional pandas have been seen with brown rather than black patches on their body, this is thought to be the first time that an entirely white Panda has been seen.

Albinism is generally a relatively rare condition where an animal is born without common markings, or without pigmentation so it appears largely or completely white. It is also often accompanied by blue eyes.

As with other colour variance this is often quite rare and this is why it is so interesting to see an albino Panda. There is only thought to be around 2,000 pandas left in the wild, and in other species the rates of unusual colouring is often as low as 1 in 1,000 births. One example where this is not the case is the leopard. On the Malaysian Peninsula around  50% of the leopards are in this rainforest are black, given the advantage that this extra camouflage affords, they thrive. Given the fact that pandas are found in bamboo forests, being white is not an advantage and as such is unlikely to be a trait that allows more of this white pandas young to survive than average.

Having said that all of the reports of this panda suggest that is is a healthy one to two year old panda that is surviving very well in the wild.

This picture from Guardian, and the full article is well worth reading.

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