Northern white rhino embryos created in lab

BY WWW.BBC.COM - Sep 11, 2019 at 12:09pm 100

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Scientists have achieved another milestone in the creation of the next generation of northern white rhinos, aimed at bringing back the rare animal from the brink of extinction.

Using eggs from the only two surviving northern white rhinos, both in Kenya, and frozen sperm from two males, who are both dead, researchers in Italy have created embryos.

The embryos are currently being stored in liquid nitrogen and will be transferred into a surrogate mother soon, the Kenya Wildlife Service says.

But there is still a "very long way to go", according to the head of Kenya's Ol Pejeta Conservancy Richard Vigne, where the two remaining northern white rhinos live under armed guard.

The gestation period for the rhino is between 15 and 16 months.

The embryos were created at the Aventea Laboratories in Italy and the whole process has been an international effort, including organisations from Germany and the Czech Republic.

There are only two northern white rhinos left in the world - both of them female and infertile

Rhinos are the second-largest land mammal after elephants. The white rhinoceros consists of two sub-species - the southern white rhino and the much rarer and critically endangered northern white rhino.

Poaching is the primary threat facing all rhino species.

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