Italy: Artificial Insemination Scientists Successfully Fertilize Eggs from Northern White Rhino
An international consortium of scientists and conservationists has successfully harvested ten eggs from the world’s last two northern white rhinos, Najin and Fatu, on August 22nd in Kenya. Seven out of the ten eggs were successfully matured and artificially inseminated.
Cremona/Italy — The world's last male northern white rhino has died in 2018. With only two females left, the species is all but extinct. On August 22, 2019, a team of veterinarians successfully harvested eggs from the last two remaining females of the Northern White Rhino species, who live in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. The procedure was conducted with a probe, guided by ultrasound, which harvested immature egg cells (oocytes) from the ovaries of the animals when placed under general anaesthetic. This procedure has never been attempted in northern white rhinos before. The eggs were transported to Avantea in Cremona and will now be artificially inseminated with frozen sperm from a northern white rhino bull, and in the near future the embryo will be transferred to a southern white rhino surrogate mother.
Cesare Galli of Avantea in Cremona (Italy) who led the fertilization procedure said that the researchers were surprised by the high rate of maturation achieved as such a high rate was unusualt with southern white rhino females in European zoos. The semen of Saut was very difficult to work with and to find three live sperms needed for the eggs of Najin they had to thaw two batches of semen. Now the injected oocytes are incubated. The results of possible embryo development are to be announced around September 10th.