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-   -   Scientists succeed in creating northern white rhino embryos (http://www.faunaclassifieds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=702173)

bcr229 09-12-2019 03:09 PM

Scientists succeed in creating northern white rhino embryos
 
https://apnews.com/0e1236b18b394650a37bfe8e43a388e2

Scientists succeed in creating northern white rhino embryos

By GIADA ZAMPANO and ANDREA FOAyesterday

CREMONA, Italy (AP) — Scientists announced Wednesday they have succeeded in creating two embryos of the near-extinct northern white rhino as part of an international effort to save the species, which is down to just two animals worldwide, both of them female.

The embryos, created in the lab with eggs taken from the females and frozen sperm from dead males, are now stored in liquid nitrogen, to be transferred into a surrogate mother — a southern white rhino — in the near future.

“Today we achieved an important milestone on a rocky road which allows us to plan the future steps in the rescue program of the northern white rhino,” said Thomas Hildebrandt of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Germany.

The institute is part of an international consortium of scientists and conservationists that has been planning and developing the procedure for years.

The ultimate goal is to create a herd of at least five animals that could be returned to their natural habitat in Africa. That could take decades.

Decades of poaching have taken a heavy toll on the northern white rhino and other rhino species. The animals are killed for their horns, which have long been used as carving material and prized in traditional Chinese medicine for their supposed healing properties.

The last male northern white rhino was a 45-year-old named Sudan, who gained fame in 2017 when he was listed as “The Most Eligible Bachelor in the World” on the Tinder dating app as part of fundraising effort. Sudan, named for the country where he was born in the wild, was euthanized in 2018 because of age-related ills.

The creation of the embryos was achieved at Cremona’s Avantea Laboratories. Cesare Galli and his team extracted five immature egg cells from each of the remaining females, Najin and Fatu, who live at a conservancy in Kenya.

After being incubated, seven of those cells matured and were suitable for fertilization. Two of the fertilized eggs developed into viable embryos.

“Five years ago it seemed like the production of a northern white rhino embryo was an almost unachievable goal — and today we have them,” said Jan Stejskal, director of communication at the Dvur Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic, where Najin and Fatu were born. “This fantastic achievement of the whole team allows us to be optimistic over our next steps.”

nickolasanastasiou 09-14-2019 02:41 AM

This is a neat piece of news. Thank you.

bcr229 01-15-2020 12:07 PM

‘Amazing’: New embryo made of nearly extinct rhino species
 
Update:

https://apnews.com/2a445286bf6b0e0f8c5a871775376f27

‘Amazing’: New embryo made of nearly extinct rhino species

By CARA ANNA January 15, 2020 GMT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Researchers say they have successfully created another embryo of the nearly extinct northern white rhino in a global effort to keep the species alive. Just two animals remain, and both are female.

The viable embryo is just the third to be created in a lab with eggs taken from the females and inseminated with frozen sperm from dead males, according to Wednesday’s statement. The embryos are stored in liquid nitrogen to be transferred into a surrogate mother — a southern white rhino — in the coming months.

“It’s amazing to see that we will be able to reverse the tragic loss of this subspecies through science,” said Kenya’s wildlife minister, Najib Balala, in the statement by the Kenya Wildlife Service and conservationists from Kenya, the Czech Republic, Germany and Italy.

The ultimate goal is to create a herd of at least five animals that could be returned to their natural habitat in Africa. That could take decades.

The two remaining female northern white rhinos, Najin and Fatu, are hosted by Kenya. The three viable embryos have been created with eggs from Fatu.

“Now the team will make every effort to achieve the same result for the 30-year-old Najin before it is too late for her,” said Thomas Hildebrandt with the Leibniz Institute for Zoo & Wildlife Research in Germany.

The procedure has proven to be safe and can be performed regularly before the animals become too old, the new statement said.

The next step is to select female southern white rhinos among those at Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy to serve as a surrogate mother, Kenya’s wildlife minister said.

Decades of poaching have taken a heavy toll on rhino species. The animals are killed for their horns, which have long been used as carving material and prized in traditional Chinese medicine for their supposed healing properties.

The last male northern white rhino was a 45-year-old named Sudan, who gained fame in 2017 when he was listed as “The Most Eligible Bachelor in the World” on the Tinder dating app as part of a fundraising effort. Sudan, named for the country where he was born in the wild, was euthanized in 2018 because of age-related ills.


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