Prior to the arrival of new technology, the death of the last remaining male northern white rhino would automatically mean the death of the entire species as a whole. However, with new technological advancements, scientists have not lost hope.
Sudan, the last remaining male northern white rhino, died in May 2017 at the Ol Pejeta Conservatory in Kenya. With his death, Sudan left behind only his daughter Najin, and granddaughter Fatu, compelling scientists to work towards finding a way to preserve the species, as natural reproduction is no longer an option.
Scientists succeeded in creating an embryo using the frozen sperm of the northern white rhino and eggs from the genetically similar southern white rhino, in hopes to implant this embryo into a surrogate mother. Now the main challenge scientists are facing is to perfect the process of implanting the embryo inside the surrogate.
“It’s a little bit like rocket science because there is no example which we can follow because we are the first in this field. We developed everything from scratch,” said Thomas Hildebrandt, leader of a team working on perfecting the implantation process, to the First Post.
The goal for scientists is to find an effective method that won’t harm the rhino within about three years. This would be the last hope for the northern white rhino’s survival.
Although the white rhino does have a new hope for survival, this situation sheds light on the importance of working to conserve wildlife in the modern day. With destruction to the white rhino’s habitat, alongside the cruel poaching industry, it was no surprise that the population of the species quickly dwindled. Despite the recent aid of technology, in order to prevent more extinction crises, people need to begin valuing the act of conservation before it’s too late.
Information for this article was taken from dailymail.co.uk