The BioRescue Consortium, an international team of scientists and conservationists, successfully transferred two southern white rhino embryos into a surrogate mother named Kurra at the Ol Pejeta Game Reserve in Kenya on September 24, 2023. Embryos were created in vitro from collected eggs and sperm and implanted into Curra’s uterus.

The BioRescue team monitored Curra closely for several weeks, and on November 22, 2023, they discovered that she was pregnant with a 70-day-old, 6.4 cm-long male fetus, confirming that the embryo transfer was successful.

However, on November 25, 2023, tragedy struck when Kurra and Ouwan, used to stimulate egg laying, were found dead in their pen. The investigation revealed that both animals died from severe systemic infection caused by the clostridial bacterial strain.

Despite this negativity, successful embryo transfer was a major breakthrough in the conservation of the northern white rhino. The BioRescue team is currently working to select a new surrogate mother and prepare to transplant northern white rhino embryos. They believe that with a successful proof of concept they could produce a baby northern white rhino within two to three years.

Source: Ferra

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