Brown Panda
The brown panda is a relatively recently discovered species – first recorded in the Qinling Mountains in 1985WikiCommons

The world's last known brown panda has survived the harsh winter in its home in north-central China. The rare brown panda, known as 'Qi Zai', is still standing having had to endure temperatures of minus 30 degrees Celsius.

Qi Zai is the only completely brown panda left on earth, although there are other giant breeds with flecks of brown fur. The six-year old male has been kept at the Wild Panda Training Base in Shaanxi Province's Foping National Nature Reserve for the past two years.

Previously, staff at the Nature Reserve have been feeding Qi Zai to make sure he is strong enough to survive the unforgiving winters in China. This was the first year that he has had to survive all by himself.

He ate 50kg of bamboo every day in order to ensure he was able to store enough energy to combat the cold temperatures. That's roughly the equivalent to a human eating 25 whole chickens every 24 hours.

A rare brown #panda 'Qizai' waits his spring in Shaanxi province.

Posted by CCTV on Saturday, 27 February 2016
Qi Zai, the last remaining brown panda on EarthCCTV/Facebook

Chinese winters are usually similar to winters experienced in the UK. However, this year was particularly cold in China with only two days in January 2016 seeing temperatures above 0C at the nature reserve.

Qi Zai did enough to maintain his strength throughout the cold temperatures though. Staff from the nature reserve even described him as "energetic".

The brown panda is a relatively recently discovered species – first recorded in the Qinling Mountains in 1985. Eight brown pandas have been found in total, but Qi Zai is the last remaining individual known to humans.

Scientists are still unsure as to how brown pandas got their colour.

• Only eight brown pandas have been spotted in the wild over the past 25 years, all of which were found in the Qinling region of China.
• The brown panda, ailuropoda melanoleuca qinlingensis, is a subspecies of panda, and was officially established in 2005.
• They have slightly smaller skulls than black and white pandas, and have proportionately larger teeth.
• Qi Zai was only two months old when he was found after his mother had left him weak and alone.

They have only been spotted in the Qinling Mountains so far, so the scientists suggest that there may be something in the environment that is causing the change. They say that the water and the soil in the area may be influencing the colour of the fur.

Vet Katherine Feng told MailOnline: "It is 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." Feng adds that Qi Zai's mother would have been a black and white panda.

Once Qi Zai hits sexual maturity, they plan on allowing him to mate with a black panda to uncover more clues about his pigmentation.