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Advanced technology gives hope of enhancing the survival chances of endangered northern white rhino

BioRescue has produced 24 workable embryos by combining the eggs of the two remaining females with frozen sperm from the deceased male northern white rhinos.

Advanced technology gives hope of enhancing the survival chances of endangered northern white rhino
Image Source: Youtube/ecufilmfestival

Many factors have led to the extinction of animals, including climate change, natural disasters, hunting by humans, and habitat loss. Extinction is a natural part of the Earth's history, but human activities have accelerated the rate in recent years. The demise of the last male northern white rhino, Sudan, which occurred five years ago, is raising doubts about the survival of the endangered species as only two female rhinos remained. However, technology could provide a solution to this problem, as a group of scientists called BioRescue has developed a method that offers hope for the species, reported My Modern Met.



 

By utilizing in-vitro fertilization and stem-cell research, the team has produced 24 workable embryos by combining the eggs of the two remaining females with frozen sperm from the deceased male northern white rhinos. Ami Vitale, a renowned photographer and filmmaker, has been closely tracking the situation, beginning with Sudan's return to Kenya from a Czech Republic zoo in 2009. Also, she was present when he breathed his last. She described Sudan's last moments as "a haunting silence that seemed to foreshadow what a world without wildlife would look like," reported Missoulian. Her photographs helped raise worldwide awareness about the wildlife emergency. Following Sudan's death in 2018, she has been collaborating with BioRescue to help create a miracle.



 

 

"Remembering Sudan," Vitale's latest short film, follows the journey of the northern white rhino and its struggle. It presents the perspectives of the rhinos' caretakers, who have an extensive understanding of these animals, and the film portrays the emotional landscape of loss and hope. The work of Zacharia Mutai, a keeper at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in northern Kenya, where Sudan resided, is highlighted in the film. As the head rhino keeper, Mutai has an intimate connection with these animals and provides a glimpse into his memories of Sudan and his affection for the species. He also offered solace to Sudan in his final moments.

 



 

 

Moreover, advanced technology has presented a new possibility for the survival of species. Vitale's film urges us to lament the loss of these animals but also to appreciate the advancements that may enable their survival. If BioRescue succeeds in implanting embryos in female southern white rhinos, who will act as surrogates, it could have a transformative impact on our understanding of extinction. It is a crucial moment in history as this breakthrough could potentially alter the fate of over 14,000 endangered species on our planet today.

The documentary "Remembering Sudan" is now accessible for online rental, and all revenue generated from it will be directed to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. On April 24 at 12 p.m. EDT, Vitale is hosting a worldwide screening of the film, followed by a discussion with Mutai about his involvement with the northern white rhino. It is a unique chance to engage in a Q&A and acquire more knowledge about the species' prospects. To receive entry to the online event, kindly contribute to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy via their website.

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