Qizai, a 10-year-old rare brown-and-white panda, was adopted by Pandas International, a US-based charity focused at saving giant pandas.
Qizai, a rare brown-and-white panda, who was bullied for looking different as a cub by other pandas has now been adopted. The panda, 10, lives at the Qinling Giant Panda Research Centre in north-western China’s Shaanxi Province. Last week, the male panda whose unique coat has bewildered experts for years was adopted by Pandas International, a US-based charity focused at saving giant pandas, reports Daily Mail. Although Qizai will continue living at the Chinese breeding center, the Denver-headquartered Pandas International would have access to visit him and get updates about his day-to-day life.
The unique-looking panda was found in a nature reserve in the Qinling Mountains, situated in central China, by researchers when he was a two-month-old cub. Apparently, his mother had disappeared into the jungle leaving behind her weak baby all alone. Keeping his safety in mind, the research team took him to Shaanxi Rare Wildlife Rescue, Breeding and Research Centre. Here, he was given proper medical treatment and fed panda milk which was collected from other pandas by the center's staff.
The news about Qizai's adoption comes shortly after a 4-year-old giant panda named Bei Bei left Washington's National Zoo last Tuesday to return to China where he was born. Providing a reason behind this decision, Qinling Giant Panda Research Centre explained how the animal conservation group, co-founded by Suzanne Braden and Diane Rees in 2000, has been continuously making considerable donations for years now.
In order to thank them for their generous efforts, the center decided to let them adopt Qizai for life. Over the years, the non-profit organization has presented the center with free vaccines, baby panda cribs, lab instruments, and milk powder. In addition to contributing to the basic necessities, the organization also assisted keepers with their everyday work, the center revealed.
Speaking to the outlet, Qizai's keeper He Xin previously mentioned how the cub was bullied by other pandas, who would devour his bamboo. Explaining the reason for Qizai's white and brown coat, he said that it could be due to a gene mutation.
Despite being surrounded by mean pandas, Qizai has now grown into a rather good looking specimen today. Last year, the panda scientists described him as "active," strong," "full of energy," while they were arranging a mating session with an 18-year-old female panda Zhu Zhu to see if he passes on his special-looking coat.
According to World Wildlife, there are about 1,864 wild pandas remaining in the world. They mainly reside in dense bamboo forests situated high in the mountains of south-west China, the majority of which is in Sichuan province.
But there are some more that live in Shaanxi province, where Qizai was found. An American veterinarian and member of the International League of Conservation Photographers, Katherine Feng, who got the amazing opportunity of photographing Qizai in 2015 spoke about the rare-looking panda.
"Brown-and-white pandas have only been seen in the Qinling Mountains. The Qinling Mountain pandas are considered a different sub-species from those found in other mountain ranges," said Feng. "It is suspected that the brown and white coloring of pandas has a genetic basis, possible a result of a double recessive gene, a combination of genes or a dilution factor gene. Qi Zai's mother was black and white." Based on reports, since 1985, there have been just five sightings of brown-and-white pandas.