A new hope for northern white rhinos
The rhino was successfully inseminated via embryo transfer. This could be a breakthrough in saving this vanishing species. If the 16-month pregnancy is successful, it will be the first northern white rhino born since 2000.
White rhinos are on the brink of extinction. There are only two females of the species left in the world. However, experts have found a method for successful insemination.
Scientists have carried out the world's first rhino pregnancy using an extracorporeal method. They successfully transferred the embryo to surrogates. The experiment was on a closely related species - the southern white rhino.
- The embryo transfer technique is well established for humans and for domesticated animals such as horses or cows. But for rhinos, it has been completely uncharted territory, and anything from the approach over procedure protocols to required equipment had to be invented, developed, tried, and tested to be safe for use - said Thomas Hildebrandt, BioRescue project head.
It took 13 attempts to achieve the first viable pregnancy. Unfortunately, 70 days after conception, the female died from a viral disease unrelated to the pregnancy. However, the researchers say that reaching pregnancy is clear proof that the method works.
- It is bitter that this milestone is confirmed under such tragic circumstances with the death of the surrogate Curra and her unborn calf, but I am sure that this proof of concept is a turn of the tide for the survival of the northern white rhino and the health of Central-African ecosystems - explained the scientist Thomas Hildebrandt.
The procedure will be repeated on the northern white rhino by June. The embryos were created by collecting semen from two deceased males and eggs taken from Fatu. The two females, Najin and her daughter Fatu, are the last representatives of the species.
However, even if the pregnancy is successful, the main threat will still exist in the form of the people who hunt these rare and unique animals.
Source: Fox News