Eggs expelled from the last two female northern white rhinos have been fertilized with sperm from the now-dead previous male. Now, it will take almost ten days to know whether the eggs have become embryos.
Avantea, an Italian assisted-breeding company, extracted seven of 10 eggs from the females in Kenya. Scientists think that the eggs could be used in the fertilization attempts using frozen sperm that had been taken from the male, which died in March 2018.
Wildlife experts and veterinarians reported that the species would be reproduced via a surrogate mother rhino.
Cesare Galli, a founder of Avantea and an expert in animal cloning, said, “To improve chances for a species’ continuation, it is better not to get to the last two individuals before you use this technology.”
“The male, a 45-year-year-old named Sudan, gained fame in 2017 with his listing as ‘The Most Eligible Bachelor in the World’ on the Tinder dating app in a fundraising effort. Sudan was euthanized after age-related complications.”
“Through this trial, we want to create a herd of at least five animals that could be returned to their natural habit in Africa. That could take decades.”
The successful procedure was a joint effort by AVANTEA, the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) Berlin, Dvůr Králové Zoo, Ol Pejeta Conservancy and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).