Meet Qi Zai – the world’s only brown panda who has become a worldwide celebrity.
Qi Zai was abandoned by his mother when he was just two-months-old and has been bullied by other pandas throughout his life – all because he looks a little different.
The tiny panda’s food used to be stolen, but since he was found weak and neglected, in the Qingling Mountains in Central China, his life has changed for the better.
It is thought his mother was a black and white panda and disappeared into the jungle, leaving her new born son behind after realising he was different to other pandas.
Knowing his mother does not have the same colourings as Qi Zai makes his brown pattern even more interesting and he has become quite the celebrity in the animal world.
Specialists have suggested that his unique colouring is down to a genetic mutation – but this hasn’t held him back in his seven years on this earth.
Qi Zai now lives a good life at Foping Panda Valley and the times of other Panda’s being mean to him are over. He has a personal keeper who plans his life around his eating habits.
The keeper wakes up at 6am and goes to sleep at midnight, just to make sure Qi Zai has a full belly and is safe and sound.
“He is slower than the other pandas, but he is also cuter,” Qi Zai’s keeper said.
He added: “All pandas here have names. When I call out their names, the other black-and-white pandas would react and come to me quickly, but for Qi Zai, it usually takes sometime for him to realise that.”
Katherine Feng, an American vet and member of the International League of Conservation Photographers, had the opportunity to take photos of Qi Zai in 2015.
Ms Feng said: “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.
“It’s suspected that the brown and white colouring of pandas has a genetic basis, possibly a result of a double recessive gene, a combination of genes or a dilution factor gene. Qi Zai’s mother was black and white.”
There have only been five sightings of brown-and-white pandas since 1985.
Qi Zai weighs more than 220 pounds and eats around 44 pounds of bamboo a day making him a pretty fine specimen – and experts are now planning to find him a mate.
So let’s hope there is more brown pandas in the future!