To brief about Albinism, it’s a genetic disorder. This disorder results from a reduction or absence of the pigment melanin. These vary in severity and often causing white skin, light hair, and vision problems. People with albinism often have light-coloured skin and hair than the other members of their family or ethnic group. Vision problems are common. There is no cure for albinism, but some symptoms can be treated. An estimated 1 in 70 people carry the genes associated with albinism. Well, you may have seen people affected with Albinism, haven’t you? But, you will be surprised to know that Albinism also exists in animals. Yes, you read it right! Albino animals have been spotted everywhere. These unique creatures have partial or complete loss of pigmentation, hence their pale skin tone compared to other members of their species. In some cultures, it is considered as sacred and auspicious to spot an albino animal.
Recently, the albino panda was spotted in a nature reserve of Sichuan, China. According to a statement from Chinese authorities, the albino panda was photographed last month on one of the infrared cameras set up inside the Wolong National Nature Reserve territory in the south-western province of Sichuan. Although albinism has appeared in the giant panda species before in the form of brown and white fur, this is the first time a completely white albino panda has been documented. Dr. Li Sheng of the Species Survival Commission under the International Union for Conservation of Nature says, “Based on the photo, albinism has not affected the life of the white panda much… It looks quite well, quite strong”.
But, have you ever thought of “What makes an animal albino?” Here’s an answer... Albinism is a congenital disease. It causes the partial or complete loss of pigmentation in an animal. Beginning in utero, certain genetic mutations prevent the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for the development of skin, fur, and eye colour. Since these animals don't have any melanin, they can have an all-white appearance, often with pinkish or very pale blue eyes. Every animal makes melanin, right from mice, tigers, koalas, zebras, crocodiles, elephants, domestic dogs and even human beings. Therefore, any animal can have albinism. But it is important to note that not always an all-white animal is an albino. So the next time if you spot an all-white albino animal, Don’t be surprised!
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