Unfortunately, one of the last two northern white rhinos in the world has had to end a prestigious and extremely challenging breeding program aimed at saving the species from extinction. Reuters writes that this was announced by the scientists involved in this feat. The last two species of northern white rhino are mother and daughter. Both reside in the Kenyan Ol Pejeta Reserve.
“The team has taken the decision to retire the eldest of the two surviving women, 32-year-old Nagen, as an egg donor,” she said in a statement from Biorisko. Her age and signs of illness are also taken into account.
Her daughter Fatu is now the only remaining donor in the breeding programme, which aims to transplant engineered embryos made from rhino eggs along with frozen sperm from deceased males into surrogate mothers of other species of rhinoceros more common in Kenya. In this way, it is hoped to save the northern white rhino, which is gray in color, from extinction.
You read that right, there are no more males alive – the last of them died in 2018 – and the only two females alive are unable to carry their calf to full term. Then science must be incredibly innovative and advanced. The northern white rhino used to live frequently and freely in various countries in East and Central Africa. But their numbers declined due to widespread poaching for their horns. Until this tragic point.
The Biorescue team, led by researchers at Germany’s Leibniz Zoo and Wildlife Research Institute, is engaged in a race against time to save the world’s most endangered mammal. “We’ve already had successes with Fatu,” Alem told Reuters with hope. “So far we have Twelve embryos were created from a pure northern white rhino. We are optimistic that the project will succeed.” No matter how difficult it may be.
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