Abandoned by his black and white panda mother, Qizai (“七仔”) is a rare brown and white panda found by the researchers in the Qin-ling Mountains (“秦嶺”). This is a major east-west mountain range located in the Central China. The word Qizai means ‘the seventh son’ in Chinese. Due to its unusual appearance and distinct-coloured fur, the black and white panda mother disappeared into the jungle and left the two months old Qizai to fend for himself. When the researchers found him, they took this baby panda to Shaanxi Rare Wildlife Rescue, Breeding and Research Centre. At this comfortable place, baby Qizai will be well-taken care off with warmth, milk, and food.
As Qizai grew older, he was brought to Foping Panda Valley. This is a nature reserve in the southern Shaanxi Province in China where pandas have lived for millions of years. A 26 years old keeper, He Xin, is the in-charge for Qizai. He said that despite Qizai is slower than many other giant pandas, he is gentle, funny and cute. In a day, Qizai will enjoy as much as 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of bamboo, milk and Chinese buns. Today, this rare and already famous panda weighs nearly 100 kilograms. This weight is an average size for a 7-year old panda. At the age of 7, pandas are ready to mate and have offsprings.
The following photographs are taken by Katherine Feng back in 2015. She is a vet, photographer, and conservationist.
Today, Qizai’s keeper is He Xin. 26 years old, he spends up to 18 hours a day taking care of this cute and rare panda bear with an unconventional personality. His job as a keeper is to make sure Qizai is eating well and happy at all times.
He Xin said that other black and white pandas reacted quickly when their names are being called. As for Qizai, he usually will take some time to react to his name. Additionally, Qizai eats very slowly. Qizai is also raised in a separate closure because he is often being bullied by other black and white giant pandas. Very often, they will steal his food, especially bamboo. On average, Qizai eats 4-5 meals a day. The reason for these brown and white pandas are due to genetic mutations and these rare pandas are usually found in Qinling Mountains.
From 1985 till today, there are only five sightings of such rare pandas. Researchers are hoping to help Qizai to look for a mate so that they can create more offsprings of such unusual and extremely rare brown and white pandas. According to World Wildlife (http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/giant-panda), there is an estimate of 1,864 wild pandas around the world.
This year, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, said in a report that the giant pandas are now classified as a ‘vulnerable’ animals instead of ‘endangered’ species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. With this growing numbers of giant pandas, it is a good sign that giant pandas are growing well in China’s wild jungles.
The above amazing photographs of Qizai, the rare brown and white panda, are from http://picture.youth.cn/xwjx/201610/t20161013_8742292_1.htm.