Professors of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin Germany have managed to attain success in fertilising the eggs from the ovaries of the last two surviving northern female white rhinos, Nanju and Fatu who are also the daughter and granddaughter of Sudan, the last northern male white Rhino who died in 2018.
On Sunday, Prof. Dr Robert Hermes, Prof. Dr Thomas Hildebrandt, and Dr Susanne Holtze were the few of the many veterinarians who performed the experiment through the frozen sperm that was collected from Sudan, last year. This major step was taken in hope of saving the species from nearing extinction.
Avantea, which is an animal reproduction and biotechnology research company, told Associated Press that, “Scientists will have to wait 10 days, however, to see if the seven viable eggs used in fertilization attempts will develop into embryos”.
Five eggs were taken from each of the female rhinos and the ten eggs were harvested at the OlPejeta Conservatory on the 22nd August, Thursday. From the home of the female Rhinos which is the conservatory in, the eggs were sent to the Avantea in Italy for the fertilization process ahead. The eggs were then fertilized on Sunday. To their surprise, seven of the ten eggs were healthy enough to be used for the fertilization process. Awaiting for the reports, the scientists hope that the embryos will develop from the eggs. Once developed, these embryos can be implanted within a surrogate mother rhino.
While speaking to the New York Times, Frank Goeritz, the head veterinarian at the Leibniz Institute in Germany said “It’s not only about saving the northern white rhino. Rather we also gained so much knowledge. We used technology that we can now apply way earlier for other endangered species before they reach this situation.”