NORTHERN WHITE RHINO BREEDING SUCCESS

Two Northern White Rhino embryos created in move to save species

Eggs collected from the two remaining females and frozen sperm from deceased males.

In Summary

• The embryos will now be stored in liquid nitrogen to be transferred into a surrogate mother.

• The scientists carried out the egg harvesting at the Ol Pejeta conservancy.

A scientists inspects the Rhino embryos stored in liquid nitrogen in an Italian Laboratory.
A scientists inspects the Rhino embryos stored in liquid nitrogen in an Italian Laboratory.
Image: /KWS

Two northern white rhino embryos have been created in an Italian laboratory using eggs collected from the two remaining females and frozen sperm from deceased males.

The embryos will now be stored in liquid nitrogen to be transferred into a surrogate mother.

According to KWS, the Kenyan government is greatly encouraged by breaking of new ground in the assisted reproduction technique and remains committed to facilitating the pioneering process.

KWS said this has been a 'decade of race against time'. 

"The first ever in-vitro embryos may mark the turn of the tide in the face of the nearly extinct northern white rhino," KWS said.

“The pioneering in vitro embryos of the northern white rhino is a strong testament to what committed partnership can achieve in pushing the frontiers of science to save a creature from extinction,” KWS Director General, Brig. (Rtd) John Waweru said.

KWS in a series of tweets said, "For decades the story of the northern white rhinoceros has been a tale of decline. A milestone has just been achieved with successful creation of 2 embryos now stored in liquid nitrogen to be transferred into a surrogate mother," Added KWS.

The Wildlife authority said that they have just turned the corner with successful laboratory creation of two northern white Rhino embryos in Italy.

According to KWS an entire team has been developing and planning these procedures for years, and this development marks an important breakthrough.

"After 10 days of incubation, two of Fatu’s eggs have developed into viable embryos that have been cryopreserved for future transfer. Najin’s eggs did not make it to a viable embryo despite the fact that one egg initiated segmentation. Thanks to Avantea Laboratories in Cremona," KWS said in a tweet.

The eggs were harvested from the two female rhinos Najin and Fatu.

The scientists carried out the egg harvesting at the Ol Pejeta conservancy.

"After 10 days of incubation, two of Fatu’s eggs have developed into viable embryos that have been cryopreserved for future transfer. Najin’s eggs did not make it to a viable embryo despite the fact that one egg initiated segmentation," KWS said.

Earlier last month, a group of scientists and conservationists successfully harvested 10 eggs from the two remaining northern white rhinos.