Qinling Pandas Are Rare, And Only A Dozen Have Ever Been Recorded

Bertram Lee/Wirestock Creators - - illustrative purposes only

You’ve heard of red pandas and the typical black and white ones, of course. But did you know that there are brown pandas, too?

Apparently, they come in more colors than one would think. A subspecies of giant pandas called Qinling pandas can have a combination of dark and light brown fur. These creatures are rare, though. Only about a dozen have ever been recorded.

The first documented Qinling panda was found by a local ranger in the Qinling Mountains of the Shaanxi province in 1985.

The panda was a female named Dandan. She was taken to the Qinling Wildlife Zoo and remained there until her death in 2000.

In 2005, Qinling pandas were officially recognized as a subspecies. Their diet, behavior, features, and habitat are similar to giant pandas.

For instance, they both spend most of their days eating bamboo stalks. But Qinling pandas are a bit smaller in size, and they have brown spots underneath their eyes instead of patches around them.

According to research, Qinling pandas may have genetically separated from giant pandas in the Sichuan region approximately 300,000 years ago.

Most Qinling pandas are black and white, but some have a brown hue for reasons that researchers have been unable to explain until now.

In 2024, a team of scientists solved the mystery of the brown fur. The team sequenced the genome of a brown panda named Qi Zai.

Bertram Lee/Wirestock Creators – – illustrative purposes only

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