The Jurassic Park-inspired idea to retrieve extinct rhinos has advanced a step further following the successful harvest of eggs from the last 2 living northern white rhinos in the whole world.
The last male northern white rhino in the entire world, named Sudan, passed away at a Kenyan reserve in the March of 2018.
The female rhinos, known as Fatu (aged 19) and Najin (the mother, aged 30), were housed on a Kenyan wildlife reserve. During the process, scientists took 10 eggs which they intend to freeze before transferring them to southern white rhino surrogate.
“It was a great success, yesterday ten oocytes were harvested which was about the number we hoped for” Jan Stejskal stated. He works at the Dvur Kralove Zoo in Czech Republic, which in year 2009 transferred 4 northern white rhinos to Kenya in an effort to encourage their breeding.
The need for a surrogate arose since neither Fatu, nor Najin is able to carry a calf. Fatu has degenerative lesions in her uterus, while Najin supports weak hind legs which may cause complications in case she became pregnant.
On Friday, Dr. Robert Hermes, from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, stated how they were glad to see how Fatu and Najin had recovered from the first procedure and were now perfectly fine.
The scientists aim to generate a herd of as many as 15 rhinos which they will them transfer to their natural home in Africa. The whole process may take many years, but scientists are hoping to see an infant rhino in the coming 3 years.
Scientists have yet to develop a successful technique for the transfer of the extracted embryos into a surrogate rhino.