World's only all-white panda SW China's Sichuan identified as male; showing healthy growth and interacting with other pandas
Published: Sep 03, 2023 01:12 PM Updated: Sep 03, 2023 01:09 PM
Photo: CCTV

Photo: CCTV

Researches on the world’s only all-white panda spotted in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province have identified the albino as male and shown that it has been growing healthily and communicating and interacting normally with other wild pandas in the Wolong National Nature Reserve. 

Infrared cameras initially only captured a profile footage of the all-white cub with no spots on its body and unique red eyes in 2019. Employees from the reserve have been tracking and recording the panda over the following four years and more clear front images of the panda were captured, showing its overlapping trajectories with other wild giant pandas and its activities such as eating bamboo, rubbing against tree trunks to make marks in addition to mating or fighting, the China Central Television reported. 

In order to confirm the gender of the panda, reserve employees tracked and monitored the animal with real-time transmission infrared cameras and managed to climb to the panda’s habitat at over 2,500 meters above sea level and collected fresh stool samples. 

He Tingmei, a deputy director of the reserve management authority, said the all-white panda was confirmed as male with gene sequencing technology and precise analysis and interpretation. More biological information about the white giant panda will be released following further analyses. 

Researches on the panda’s habitat show that the activity range of the albino panda is about 4.4 square kilometers and its dependence on bamboo is no different from other pandas. 

Researchers also found that the albino panda is living nearby his mother and younger siblings based on footage of the panda’s interactions and overlapping trajectories with another two wild pandas with normal black-and-white coats. 

In the videos recorded between 2021 and 2023, the all-white panda appeared with another two wild pandas at a tree hollow at the same time on multiple occasions. 

The all-white panda walked toward the mother panda and its cub resting in the tree hollow and began to interact. However, the mother panda prompted the cub to drive away the all-white panda, researchers speculated that the panda in the tree hollow is the mother of the two. 

Infrared cameras also captured footages of other wild animals including red pandas, Asiatic black bears, snow leopards and jackals, which share the same habitat with the giant pandas. 

According to Li Sheng, a research fellow from the School of Life Sciences, Peking University, except for jackals which hunt in groups and sometimes threaten giant pandas, other carnivores can hardly pose any threat to giant pandas. 

Global Times