EnvironmentScientists create embryos to save northern white rhino

Scientists create embryos to save northern white rhino

-

Nairobi, Kenya: Scientists working to bring back the functionally extinct northern white rhino announced they had successfully created three additional embryos of the subspecies, bringing the total to 12.

One of the world’s two remaining live specimens — female Fatu who lives with her mother Najin on Kenya’s 90,000-acre Ol Pejeta wildlife conservancy — provided the eggs for the project, while the sperm used was from two different deceased males.

Scientific consortium Biorescue described in a press release late Thursday how the eggs were collected from Fatu in early July before being airlifted to a lab in Italy for fertilization, development, and preservation.

Neither Fatu nor Najin is capable of carrying a calf to term, so surrogate mothers for the embryos will be selected from a population of southern white rhinos.

Ol Pejeta director Richard Vigne told AFP on Friday that he believed in the project’s chances of success while emphasizing the high stakes.

“No one is going to pretend that this is going to be easy,” he said.

“We are doing things which are cutting-edge from a scientific perspective and we a dealing with genetics, with the two last northern white rhinos left on the planet,” said Vigne.

“There are many, many things that could go wrong,” he said. “I think everybody understands the challenges that remain.”

Since 2019 Biorescue has collected 80 eggs from Najin and Fatu, but the 12 viable embryos all hail from the younger rhino.

The project is a multi-national effort with scientists from the German Leibniz Institute backing the Kenya Wildlife Service and Ol Pejeta, and the Italian Avantea laboratory providing fertilization support.

Kenyan Tourism Minister Najib Balala welcomed the news.

“It is very encouraging to note that the project has continued to make good progress in its ambitious attempts to save an iconic species from extinction,” he said in the press release.

Rhinoceroses have very few natural predators but their numbers have been decimated by poaching since the 1970s.

Modern rhinos have roamed the planet for 26 million years and it is estimated that more than a million still lived in the wild in the middle of the 19th century.

AFP
AFP is a leading global news agency for comprehensive, verified coverage of events shaping the world.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest news

Swiss unanimously votes for same-sex union referendum

GENEVA — In Switzerland, a controversial same-sex marriage referendum has been resoundingly approved by voters of the conservative, rich Alpine...

New Covid surge overwhelms hospitals in parts of US

WASHINGTON, D.C. — According to one of the country's top health officials, the spike in coronavirus cases in the...

China wants effeminate male celebs to man up

WASHINGTON — Macho men are in and effeminate male performers are out as Beijing expands its crackdown on China's entertainment...

Billie Eilish, BTS to perform at climate change concert

Billie Eilish, BTS, and Elton John, among others, will donate their star power to Global Citizen Live on Saturday...

Google faces off EU in court over record $5.1 billion antitrust fine

This week, Google will face the European Commission in a five-day court hearing, appealing a record $5.1 billion fine...

WHO’s Covax misses 2021 target. What went wrong?

The latest supply forecast for Covax – the programme for sharing COVID-19 vaccines around the world – suggests that accelerating vaccination...

Must read

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you