An albino panda photographed in China

An all-white panda was photographed in a natural reserve in southwestern China, a rare case proving that albinism exists in the wild pandas of this region, announced the China News Agency.
The animal with a coarse coat and red eyes was photographed on April 20 in a forest in southwestern Sichuan Province, the official agency said on Saturday.

The panda is an albino aged one to two years, said Li Sheng, a researcher specializing in bears at Peking University, quoted by China New.

The Wolong National Nature Reserve, where the animal was spotted, told AFP not to have more details about it.

More than 80 percent of the world’s wild pandas live in Sichuan Province (southwest China), with the rest spread between Shanxi (central) and Gansu (northwest).

In November, 548 giant pandas were in captivity, while the wild population dropped below 2,000, according to new China.

China is renowned for its “panda diplomacy”: it sends abroad some of these rare animals as a symbol of good relations with recipient countries.

Last year, Beijing announced plans to establish a giant pandas reserve three times the size of Yellowstone US National Park to bring animals closer together and encourage crossbreeding between wild pandas, which are notoriously slow to breed.

A budget of more than 10 billion yuan (1.3 billion euros) is planned for the Giant Panda National Park, located in the mountainous south-west of China whose animal is a national emblem, according to the daily newspaper China Daily State.

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