Just another WordPress site X Donate

Sunday, 25 August 2019   /   published in White Rhino

**BREAKING NEWS** Scientists one step closer to saving the northern white rhino from complete extinction!

In a bid to save a species, an international team have undertaken egg harvesting from two female northern white rhino.These two females are the last northern white rhino left on Earth

On August 22nd, 2019 an international consortium of scientists and conservationists completed a procedure that gets us one step closer to being able to save the northern white rhinos. The team successfully harvested eggs from the two females who live in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya Ñ a procedure that has never been attempted in northern white rhinos before. The successful procedure was a joint effort by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) Berlin, Avantea, Dv?r Kr‡lovŽ Zoo, and Ol Pejeta Conservancy. After the eggs were harvested from the northern white rhino females, they were taken into a KWS helicopter and flown to Avantea in Italy where they will be artificially inseminated with frozen sperm from a northern white rhino bull, and in the near future the embryo will be transferred to a southern white rhino surrogate mother. The procedure to harvest eggs from the females was conducted with a probe, guided by ultrasound, which harvested immature egg cells (oocytes) from the ovaries of the animals who were under general anaesthetic. The anaesthesia went smoothly without any complications although these animals had not been immobilized for the last five years. The girls responded well to the procedure and are now awake, happy and back to their normal selves. (Photo by Ami Vitale)

We are thrilled to inform you that on Thursday 22nd August 2019, a team of veterinarians successfully harvested eggs from the two females, Naijin and Fatu at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. These two females are the last northern white rhino left on Earth and this procedure has never been attempted on northern white rhino before.

On August 22nd, 2019 an international consortium of scientists and conservationists completed a procedure that gets us one step closer to being able to save the northern white rhinos. The team successfully harvested eggs from the two females who live in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya Ñ a procedure that has never been attempted in northern white rhinos before. The successful procedure was a joint effort by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) Berlin, Avantea, Dv?r Kr‡lovŽ Zoo, and Ol Pejeta Conservancy. After the eggs were harvested from the northern white rhino females, they were taken into a KWS helicopter and flown to Avantea in Italy where they will be artificially inseminated with frozen sperm from a northern white rhino bull, and in the near future the embryo will be transferred to a southern white rhino surrogate mother. The procedure to harvest eggs from the females was conducted with a probe, guided by ultrasound, which harvested immature egg cells (oocytes) from the ovaries of the animals who were under general anaesthetic. The anaesthesia went smoothly without any complications although these animals had not been immobilized for the last five years. The girls responded well to the procedure and are now awake, happy and back to their normal selves. (Photo by Ami Vitale)

The procedure was the result of years of research, development, adjustments and practice. “Both the technique and the equipment had to be developed entirely from scratch”, says Prof. Thomas Hildebrandt from Leibniz-IZW and Dr. David Ndeereh from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), who headed the procedure. “We were able to harvest a total of 10 oocytes – 5 from Najin and 5 from Fatu – showing that both females can still provide eggs and thus help to save these magnificent creatures.”

The eggs will now be artificially inseminated with frozen sperm from the northern white bull, Suni, who died of  natural causes in 2014. With Naijin and Fatu unable to carry a pregnancy, the future of the northern white rhino now rests solely on pioneering artificial reproduction techniques. The laboratory-created embryo will be transferred to a southern white rhino female who will act as surrogate mother. 

We are thrilled with the news of the successful egg harvesting and will be following closely the next steps over the coming weeks and months. For more information on the procedure and to support this pioneering work, simply press the button below.