A rare albino panda has been captured on cameras for the first time in a Chinese nature reserve.
The animal has none of the distinctive black marks on its body and its eyes appear to be red. Albinism is a hereditary condition that is caused by a lack of colouring pigments in the skin. In animals it can lead to a lack of pigmentation in the eyes, fur, scales or feathers.
The panda was captured by an infrared camera crossing the forest at the Wolong National Nature Reserve in April.
Li Sheng, a researcher with the School of Life Science at Peking University, the panda is between one and two years old.
“Next, we will set more infrared cameras in this area to observe its growth and activities to see whether it has any relationship with the giant panda population in the surrounding areas,” said Duan Zhaogang, secretary of the committee of the Communist Party of China.
Giant brown pandas have been located previously in China’s Qinling Mountains, with researchers believing the colour of their fur was also caused by a genetic mutation.
Giant pandas are China’s unofficial national mascot and live mainly in the Sichuan mountains.
The giant panda is listed as vulnerable species by WWF, with around 1,864 remaining. Habitat loss and climate change remain the biggest threats to their survival.