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The embryos are now stored in liquid nitrogen as they await transfer to surrogate mothers to help produce new northern white rhino offspring.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) on Thursday announced that four new white rhino embryos were produced from 19 immature eggs (oocytes) that were harvested from one of the only two surviving female northern white rhino called Fatu.
"We are excited with the laboratory outcome of the last ovum pick-up in March," Kenya's Wildlife Secretary Najib Balala said, adding that the next phase of the project is the transfer of embryos to the surrogate southern white females.
Kenya has partnered with an international consortium of scientists, conservationists to help produce the next generation of northern white rhino through assisted reproduction technologies.
The harvesting of immature eggs from the two surviving female northern white rhinos and artificially inseminating them using sperm frozen from deceased male counterparts has been ongoing since 2019 at Ol Pejeta Conservancy based in northwestern Kenyan county of Laikipia.
KWS said that 14 out of the 19 immature eggs that were harvested from Fatu on March 28 produced four viable embryos after they were fertilized with thawed sperm from a deceased northern white rhino bull called Suni.
The last two northern white rhinos alive in the world drink water in northern Kenya. Scientists have created five northern white rhino embryos, in the hopes that the species can be saved from the brink of extinction.#Tiredearthpic.twitter.com/aGbwcjVM7T
The four embryos are now stored in liquid nitrogen alongside the five ones that were created during earlier procedures as they await transfer to surrogate mothers to help produce new northern white rhino offspring.
Another milestone achieved in the rescue of northern white rhino was the sterilization of a southern white rhino bull called Owuan in December 2020 to pave way for its role in helping determine the reproductive cycle of potential surrogate mothers without impregnating them.
Owuan will be introduced to the southern white rhino females in the coming weeks to facilitate seamless transfer of embryos and produce new northern white rhino offspring.
"We are eager to get the progeny from the project that will guarantee the survival of the species," said Balala.