The North African white rhino is a subspecies of the white rhino, the largest of the five surviving rhino species in the world, weighing between 1.
4 and 1.
6 tonnes, more than 3 metres long and about 1.
7 metres tall at the shoulders, with the longest horn in the rhino family, with a recorded longest of 1.
This dealt a fatal blow to its survival – rhinos were hunted in large numbers due to legends that their horns had miraculous medicinal effects
In 2018, The Sudan, the last male North African white rhino on earth, died in Kenya, declaring that the North African white rhino has completely disappeared
in the wild.
The 2 females were protected as living specimens and guarded 24 hours a day with a gun
On 28 July 2022, scientists and environmentalists from the Leibniz-izw Institute of Zoos and Wildlife In Leibniz, opezta nature reserve, Dvůr Králové safari, kenya wildlife authority (KWS) and wildlife research and training institute (WRTI) conducted the 10th collection of oocytes from northern white rhinos at the Opageta Nature Reserve in Kenya
The biological rescue team collected 23 oocytes from Fatu, the younger of the two remaining female northern white rhinos
Oocytes stored with cryopreservation are immediately airlifted to the Avantea laboratory
in Cremona, Italy.
Fertilized with thawed sperm from the late male northern white rhino angulfa, 5 embryos were finally successfully prepared and cryopreserved
in liquid nitrogen.
Another northern white rhino, Fatu's mother, Najin, stopped collecting oocytes
in 2021 after an in-depth ethical risk assessment.
On April 24 this year, the same team performed the 9th oocyte collection
at the same site.
In the Avantea laboratory, 3 embryos were prepared from the 16 oocytes collected, using the semen
of Anglifu again.
The two successful results increased the total number of northern white rhino embryos produced to 22 – all of which had egg cells from female Fatu, half of whom were from Suni, a late male northern white rhino from dvůr Králové Wildlife Park in the Czech Republic, and the other half from Anglifu
, a northern white rhino from San Diego Wildlife Park in the United States.
Once the process of transferring embryos to southern white rhino (SWR) female recipients is optimized, these embryos will form the basis of a new northern white rhino population, eventually returning to their ecological role as the dominant herbivores in
To create the right conditions for a successful embryo transfer, the research team has been carefully observing the interaction
between a neutered southern white rhino Owuan and a surrogate cow that shares a fence.
Once conditions permit, the biological rescue team will attempt an embryo transfer – first proving the entire process is normal with a southern white rhino embryo, and then using a valuable northern white rhino embryo
The research team is currently considering whether adding more female southern white rhinos to the project could increase the chances
of achieving a successful embryo transfer for the first time.
Thomas Hildebrandt, head of the Biosaved Project, said: "In 2019, the day before we collected eggs for the first time in the world at NWR, I said – tomorrow we will change the world
Today I can say that we did it: 5 new northern white rhino embryos were constructed in one process, which is a new record
for our mission to save the northern white rhino from extinction.
In total, we successfully prepared and frozen 22 pure northern white rhino embryos from 158 oocytes collected in 10 collections: 148 from Fatu and 10 from Nájin
Our next goal is to successfully produce viable offspring
through the invention and use of new scientific embryo transfer methods and techniques.
The groundbreaking scientific work we are building here will lay the groundwork for future conservation and rescue operations