Two of the three remaining northern white rhinos. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Guy lemal
After years of poaching, the world's population of northern white rhinos has been reduced to three.
Few species on Earth share the level of critical endangerment as these animals and now, with a mere three individuals remaining, the fate of the northern white rhino hangs in the balance.
Situated in Kenya's Ol Pejeta Conservancy, this lone trio remains under armed guard at all times.
But not all is necessarily lost. While none of the rhinos are capable of giving birth, an international team of scientists from the US, Germany, Italy and Japan are set to attempt the impossible by removing the eggs from the last two females and creating viable embryos from them.
If all goes well, a surrogate rhino would then be used to carry the babies to term.
It will be the first time anyone has ever attempted such a procedure but at this point it remains the only hope to save the species. Some critics have argued that the resources would be better spent protecting other species of rhino, but it's likely the attempt will be made anyway.
"Unless we act now, the northern white rhino will go extinct," said Professor Thomas Hildebrandt.
"And donít forget that, once we have developed IVF and stem cell technologies to save it, we will then be able to use them to rescue other threatened species."
Source: The Guardian | Comments (31)
Northern White Rhino