Eggs harvested from last northern white rhinos
August 25, 2019 | 11 comments
There are only two northern white rhinos left in the entire world. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Guy lemal
An unprecedented procedure could help to ensure the continued survival of the critically endangered species.
Situated in Kenya's Ol Pejeta Conservancy, the last two remaining members of the species - a mother and daughter - remain under armed guard at all times to protect them from poachers.
The last male northern white rhino sadly passed away due to old age last year.
Not all is necessarily lost however as a team of veterinarians has succeeded in harvesting a total of ten eggs from the two remaining rhinos. It is hoped that the eggs can be fertilized using sperm from a deceased male and brought to term by a surrogate southern white rhino.
"We are delighted that this partnership gets us one step closer to prevent extinction of the northern white rhinos," said Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) director general John Waweru.
"This is particularly touching given the heartbreaking death of Sudan, the last male, who died of old age last year in Kenya."
Whether the team's efforts will ultimately produce a new northern white rhino calf however remains to be seen - there is no guarantee that the implanted embryos will result in pregnancy.
If the attempt fails, then once the remaining two females die, their entire species will die with them.
Source: BBC News
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