Science has just saved northern white rhinos from extinction.
That’s according to a group of scientists who recently impregnated a southern white rhino through in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
The only two northern white rhinos alive live under constant surveillance in Kenya. Najin and Fatu are both female and both sterile.
The international effort to save the species was helped by role players in several countries, including Italy and Germany.
Living cells from 12 different northern white rhinos are stored in laboratories in these two European countries. The cells are kept in liquid nitrogen.
Austria was another country involved in the process because the sperm was collected from a southern white rhino who lives in Zoo Salzburg.
Belgium became involved when the egg cells were retrieved from a southern white rhino living in the Pairi Daiza Zoo in Belgium.
The eggs were transported to Italy where they were fertilised. After that the fertilised eggs were transported to Kenya and implanted in a surrogate mother.
Unfortunately, the surrogate mother died soon after due to a bacterial infection. Tests done on the fetus she carried confirmed that the IVF was a success.
Now, the group of scientists are convinced that it will work again with a new surrogate which will mean the extinction of the northern white rhino will be stopped.
Image credit: People Magazine