and gets ready for next steps of the northern white rhino rescue mission
The international consortium of scientists and conservationists working towards preventing the extinction of the northern white rhino through advanced assisted reproduction technologies is pleased to announce that in March and April 2021, four additional northern white rhino embryos were produced. This is the most successful series of procedures – from oocyte collection in Kenya to in vitro fertilisation and cryopreservation in Italy – the team of Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW), Safari Park Dvůr Králové, Kenya Wildlife Service, Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Avantea has ever conducted. Additionally, the team confirmed the successful sterilisation of the southern white rhino bull Owuan, which was conducted in December 2020. The bull will now be introduced to the Ol Pejeta southern white rhino females that have been identified as potential surrogate mothers for future northern white rhino offspring.
Oocyte collection with Fatu photo by Rio the Photographer
Females Najin and Fatu at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya, are the only remaining northern white rhinos in the world. To prevent the extinction of the northern white rhino, an international consortium of scientists and conservationists called BioRescue led by Leibniz-IZW has been harvesting immature egg cells (oocytes) from the two females and artificially inseminating these using frozen sperm from deceased males in order to create viable northern white rhino embryos since 2019. In the near future, the embryos will be transferred to southern white rhino surrogate mothers to create northern white rhino offspring.