Can White Rhinos Survive Extinction?

Can White Rhinos Survive Extinction?

Luke Li, Journalist/Editor

Can White Rhinos Survive Extinction?

White Rhinos have been on the brink of extinction for a while now, back in early 2018, the last male White Rhino died. This now leaves 2  female White Rhinos. Neither female, Najin or Fatu, is able to have a calf. The first impression is that White Rhinos are extinct, they’re gone for good, but can science save this species? An international team of scientists are leading a project called “Biorescue” to attempt to save the White Rhino through artificial insemination.

 Back in 1970, conservationists that were concerned about the White Rhino population began breeding the rhinos in captivity, this included collecting semen from the males. Unfortunately, neither females can have calves due to complications in the legs/back. But, Biorescue has found a way for the White Rhinos to reproduce. The process starts by extracting infertile eggs then fertilizing them using frozen sperm. Currently, there are 5 frozen embryos that are healthy, stored in liquid Nitrogen. The next step is finding a fertile mother from Southern Rhinos, even though the two species diverged thousands of years ago, researchers are hoping that they’re so similar that a Southern Rhino can carry a White Rhino calf.

 

Photo credit: JYI.org