January 26, 2024

White Rhinos Future Looks Bright After Successful IVF Pregnancy

The northern white rhino – of which there are currently only two known members of the subspecies left in the world – may have a future worth looking forward to, as a breakthrough in science could save them from extinction.

BioRescue, an international organisation of scientists and conservationists, announced via Facebook on Wednesday, 24 January, that they have achieved the world’s first In vitro fertilisation (IVF) rhino pregnancy.

Scientists were able to successfully plant a lab-created northern white rhino embryo into a surrogate mother, a southern white rhino which is a closely related sub-species of its northern brethren.
The transfer took place in September 2023, at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, resulting in a successful pregnancy. Unfortunately, the surrogate mother died of a bacterial infection just two months later.

During the autopsy, veterinary technicians discovered a 70-day-old male foetus, which was later confirmed to be a result of the embryo transfer via tissue analysis.

“To achieve the first successful embryo transfer in a rhino is a huge step,” Susanne Holtze, a scientist part of the BioResearch group, told an international publication a day after the good news was shared.

The proof of concept will encourage researchers to move forward with the promising project.

Image Credit: Source