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Updated January 25th, 2024 at 16:40 IST

World's First White Rhino IVF Pregnancy Raises Hopes for Subspecies Survival

Scientists announced the transfer of a southern white rhino embryo into a surrogate mother of the same subspecies at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.

World's first white rhino IVF pregnancy may offer way to save subspecies
World's first white rhino IVF pregnancy may offer way to save subspecies | Image:AP
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As evidence of the concept's viability, scientists announced the transfer of a southern white rhino embryo into a surrogate mother of the same subspecies at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya on September 24, 2023.

On Wednesday, the international BioRescue team, supported by the German government, affirmed that the procedure resulted in a successful pregnancy lasting 70 days. During this period, a male embryo measuring 6.4 cm (2.5 inches) in length developed well.

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"That is really a milestone to allow us to produce northern white rhino calves in the next two, two and a half years," said Hildebrandt.

The northern white rhinos, despite their misleading name as they are actually grey, once freely inhabited various countries in East and Central Africa. Unfortunately, their population experienced a significant decline due to extensive poaching driven by the demand for their horns.

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The BioRescue consortium has been in a time-sensitive race to rescue the subspecies.

With the successful proof of concept, the scientists now have the green light to proceed with the transfer of northern white rhino embryos.

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A second endangered Sumatran rhino was recently born in Indonesia. In a rare stroke of luck, a Czech safari park is celebrating the birth of the third black rhino in just one year. 

Rare rhinos have successfully managed to evade poachers in the world's top reserve, marking the first time this has occurred since 1977.

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Published January 25th, 2024 at 16:40 IST

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