Nanyuki, Kenya - We are thrilled to share the news announced today in a press release by our partners - the Dvůr Králové Zoo and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) - that the first ever hybrid rhino embryo has been successfully created by Avantea, their associates and world leaders in assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) for large animals in Italy.
What does this mean?
It’s a huge breakthrough for the regeneration of the northern white rhinos. Using a southern white rhino egg and northern white rhino sperm, scientists at Avantea developed a valid embryo that has a strong chance of surviving to term. This means they have the technology and experience to replicate the procedure with pure northern white rhino genetics.
On March 18, 2018, the world was devastated by the loss of Sudan, the last male of his kind, to age-related illnesses. It struck a terrible blow for the species, who were then functionally extinct. Thanks to the continued dedication from scientists, conservationists and philanthropists across the world however, the miracle of their renaissance may now actually become a reality.
We hope to be able to soon welcome the scientists to Ol Pejeta Conservancy, where they will perform the ovum pick up (OPU) - harvesting eggs from Fatu and Najin. Once they have the eggs, they can begin the process of bringing a species back from the very brink of extinction.
“This research is groundbreaking. We are witnessing the development of a method that can help to compensate the negative impact of humans on nature. We are very thankful for all donations received from private people supporting our race against time. We hope that the current achievement will help us to convince more people as well as public authorities that this new approach is feasible and worth supporting,” Steven Seet, Head of Press & Communications at the Leibniz - IZW.
In the meantime, we will carry on taking the best possible care of Fatu and Najin and the herd of southern whites specifically selected to one day, hopefully, become surrogates for northern white rhinos. If you would like to donate in memory of Sudan and for the future of the northern whites, please click here.
We would like to thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement. These are tremendously exciting times and we are more hopeful than ever that we may once again see northern white rhinos roaming in the wild.