Kenya: 2 Northern White Rhino Embryos Created in Italian Lab in Efforts to Reverse Imminent Extinction

Northern white rhinoceros (file photo).
11 September 2019

Nairobi — Kenya has marked a major milestone towards saving the Northern White Rhino, which faces extinction, through the creation of two embryos using eggs collected from the remaining females and frozen sperm from deceased males.

The two embryos were created in an Italian laboratory the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) tweeted on Wednesday, in what may mark a turning point for the nearly extinct Northern White Rhino.

The embryos are stored in liquid nitrogen and are set to be transferred into a surrogate mother, 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 on Wednesday.

After racing against time for a decade, the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife saying the government is greatly encouraged by the assisted reproduction technique and has committed to facilitate the pioneering process.

Three of the last northern white rhinos reside in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia County, where the last male, which was globally known as Sudan, died in March last year.

Sudan died aged 45 due to age-related complications.

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