In this video we meet James Mwenda, who helps care for the last two northern white rhinos on earth, Najin and Fatu. The pair belong to the Czech Republic’s Dvůr Králové Zoo, but live in Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy, protected round-the-clock by armed guards.
The northern white rhinoceros is one of two subspecies of the white rhinoceros (the other being the southern white rhinoceros). Given that Najin and Fatu are both females, barring the existence of unknown or misclassified male northern white rhinos elsewhere in Africa, their sub-species is functionally extinct.
However, in August 2019 scientists harvested 10 egg cells (five from Najin and five from Fatu) and artificially inseminated them with the frozen sperm of a northern white rhino. In September 2019, two of the embryos resulting from the subsequent in-vitro fertilisation of the eggs were pronounced viable. In January 2020, another viable embryo was created using the same techniques, with yet two more created a year later.
Today, all five of the embryos are stored in liquid nitrogen until they can be placed into a surrogate mother – most likely a southern white rhino.
View the original video here.
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