Join our zoo community

The Revival of the Northern White Rhino?

Discussion in 'Wildlife & Nature Conservation' started by The Speeding Carnotaurus, 19 May 2018.

  1. The Speeding Carnotaurus

    The Speeding Carnotaurus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    26 Nov 2017
    Posts:
    151
    Location:
    USA
  2. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    25 Jan 2006
    Posts:
    7,965
    Location:
    Amsterdam, Holland
    If southern white rhino can be surrogate mum to their northern cousin in an effort to secure the species, I see no harm in that. Just note, this particular pregnancy is AI using a SW rhino male sperm as the donor.

    BTW: 6 female SW rhinos were imported by SD Zoo for this particular purpose. They are held separate from their other SW rhino breeding group.
     
    Last edited: 19 May 2018
    Zorro likes this.
  3. The Speeding Carnotaurus

    The Speeding Carnotaurus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    26 Nov 2017
    Posts:
    151
    Location:
    USA
    Yes, probably should have put a bit more info on it in the first post...
    Anyways, at least there’s a plan!
     
  4. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    2 Jan 2017
    Posts:
    490
    Location:
    everywhere
    Could be a case of to little to late but lets hope not this is a ray of hope for them, To bad the last country in the world that had them in the wild pushed aside any offers for helping them
     
  5. Elephant Enthusiast

    Elephant Enthusiast Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 Nov 2017
    Posts:
    280
    Location:
    British Columbia, Canada
    The pregnancy of a Southern White Rhino through artificial insemination is a significant achievement in the effort to save the Northern White Rhino.

    Now that artificial insemination has been accomplished, the next step is to attempt in vitro fertilization on a Southern White Rhino. That would include the genetic material and the surrogacy of Southern White Rhinos. Once eggs and sperm are harvested from Southern White Rhinos, the material can be mixed in a petri dish to develop. Once the zygote has divided to be considered viable, the developing embryo would be implanted into a surrogate Southern White Rhino. If the embryo attaches to the walls of the uterus where it develops into a fetus, the science of in vitro fertilization on a Southern White Rhino has been achieved. However, the surrogate mother will have to carry the pregnancy for the 16 month term for the procedure to be considered successful. Once the surrogate has given birth and the calf is able to survive and thrive, the ability to impregnate a Southern White Rhino through in vitro fertilization has been achieved.

    Once in vitro fertilization has been accomplished using the genetic material of Southern White Rhinos, the next step is to attempt in vitro fertilization on a Southern White Rhino using the genetic material of Northern White Rhinos. Once eggs are harvested from the remaining females, the process of in vitro fertilization can begin. The eggs of the remaining females would be mixed with the sperm of deceased Northern White Rhinos in a petri dish to develop. Once the zygote has divided to be considered viable, the developing embryo would be implanted into a surrogate Southern White Rhino. If all goes according to plan, the embryo should attach to the walls of uterus where it will develop into a fetus and the surrogate mother will carry the pregnancy for the 16 month term. Once the surrogate has given birth and the Northern White Rhino calf is able to survive and thrive, the ability to produce a Northern White Rhino through in vitro fertilization has been achieved.

    The effort to save the Northern White Rhino will be complex but the dedication of the scientists and experts will ensure that in 10 to 15 years time, the world could once again have the birth of a Northern White Rhino.
     
  6. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    5 Dec 2006
    Posts:
    17,590
    Location:
    england
    Good clear explanation of where they are now, and where they need to get to. It can sometimes get very confusing. Thanks.
     
  7. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    25 Jan 2006
    Posts:
    7,965
    Location:
    Amsterdam, Holland
    It was not the nation DR Congo, but a certain Minister and TBH not even with the relevant Ministry who made it into a nationalist issue …, hence the entire effort collapsed.

    Even now though, we still have some live northern white rhinos AND a good selection of genetic materials from 10+ individual NWR harvested and assembled at the Frozen Zoo.

    Admittedly, it is now saving an endangered species the ultra hard way, but the fight ain't over till the fat lady sings the blues. If we are not willing to fight to save our threatened species from the ultimate … extinction, ….. what are we really worth? Nothing!

    I am glad some of us still try!!!
     
  8. Elephant Enthusiast

    Elephant Enthusiast Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 Nov 2017
    Posts:
    280
    Location:
    British Columbia, Canada
    Major achievements have been made public in the past three months for the scientific reproduction of the Northern White Rhino!

    Sources:
    Southern White Rhino at San Diego Zoo Safari Park Pregnant Through Artificial Insemination - ZOONOOZ
    Resurrecting the dwindling northern white rhino population through artificial insemination - CBS News
    A breakthrough to rescue the Northern White Rhino: First ever hybrid embryo produced outside the womb - ScienceDaily
    First-Ever Test Tube Rhino Embryos Give Hope for Functionally Extinct Species - Good News Network
    Can a controversial in-vitro fertilization process save the northern white rhino? - PRI.org
    There are only two northern white rhinos left. Scientists hope hybrid embryos will save the species. - Chicago Tribune

    In May of 2018, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park announced that Victoria, a Southern White Rhino, was pregnant and conceived through artificial insemination, a reproductive technique that has only been successful in a few rhino births. Recently, in August of 2018, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park announced that Victoria was 17 weeks into her 16 month pregnancy and the unborn calf, which is growing normally, is measuring in at about six to seven inches. The pregnancy is a significant achievement as it was the result of artificial insemination and the sperm used during the procedure was frozen. The ability to use reanimated frozen sperm in artificial reproductive techniques demonstrates that in vitro fertilization techniques are possible using frozen sperm.

    In the past year, Thomas Hildebrandt and his team from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo & Wildlife Research have been able to collect oocytes from several Southern White Rhino females residing at European zoos through adapted reproductive techniques. By using a patented nearly two-meter long technical device, the reproductive specialists were able to safely and repeatedly collect oocytes from Southern White Rhinos. Once collected, the oocytes were then shipped to AVANTEA, a world leader in assisted reproduction technologies (ART), where procedures were developed to mature the oocytes, fertilize them through intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and culture them. For the first time, rhino blastocysts, the early stage of an embryo, have been successfully developed. Several embryos have been cryopreserved with the plan of eventually being implanted into a surrogate mother who will carry a pregnancy to term. Interestingly, the fertilization of these embryos used frozen sperm from deceased Northern White Rhino males. The development of hybrid embryos is a significant step towards the birth of a Northern White Rhino through in vitro fertilization techniques. However, the use of genetic material from Northern White Rhinos for the fertilization of hybrid embryos is quite audacious. Reproductive specialists are currently working to develop embryo transfer procedures. Once those techniques have been perfected, the master plan of implanting a Northern White Rhino embryo into a surrogate Southern White Rhino female can be performed.

    With the successful development of hybrid embryos, the next step is to collect oocytes from Najin and Fatu, the two remaining Northern White Rhino females. Unfortunately, the reproductive specialists have not been granted permission by the Kenyan government to extract eggs from the two remaining Northern White Rhino females but they’re hopeful that they’ll receive clearance before the end of 2018. Once the request has been approved, the oocyte collection procedure will be performed while Najin and Fatu are anesthetized. The reproductive specialists are confident that the procedure will be a success, however the unexpected could happen. Once the Northern White Rhino oocytes have been collected, the oocytes will mature and be fertilized using frozen Northern White Rhino sperm. Once an oocyte has developed into a viable blastocyst, the next step is to implant the embryo into a surrogate Southern White Rhino female. If all goes according to plan, the embryo should develop into a fetus where the surrogate mother will carry the pregnancy for the 16 month gestation. Once the Southern White Rhino surrogate has given birth and the Northern White Rhino calf is able to survive and thrive, the ability to produce a Northern White Rhino through in vitro fertilization has been achieved. Thomas Hildebrandt, and researchers, hope the first Northern White Rhino calf will be born in about three years.

    With only two females, a mother and daughter, left who can provide eggs and cryopreserved sperm from four males, in vitro fertilization techniques alone wouldn't establish a self sustaining population of Northern White Rhinos. Because of this, scientists are working on an additional approach. The plan is to produce haploid cells, egg and sperm cells, through stem cell technology. Somatic cells, the cells of an organism other than the reproductive cells, from Northern White Rhinos, which have been cryopreserved, will be converted into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), skin cells that have been reprogrammed back into an embryonic state that will enable the development of any type of cell, somatic or haploid. Once the iPS cells have been developed, the next step is to convert the iPS cells into germ cells through in vitro techniques. Once the germ cells have been developed, the final step is to transform the germ cells into gametes, eggs and sperm. Combining stem cell research and ART will enable highly endangered species whose numbers have dwindled to where conventional conservation efforts are impossible to make a recovery. At AVANTEA, scientists have been able to produce Southern White Rhino embryonic stem cells with all the features of undifferentiated cells and the ability to develop into different types of cells. The embryonic stem cells will help differentiate iPS cells into germ cells and eventually gametes.

    The effort to save the Northern White Rhino has greatly advanced thanks to the hard work and dedication of the scientists, reproductive specialists, and researchers. If all goes according to plan, the birth of a Northern White Rhino could occur in less than five years.
     
    Last edited: 6 Sep 2018
    birdsandbats and Jambo like this.
  9. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Jul 2018
    Posts:
    1,035
    Location:
    Australia
    Thats wonderful news for the Northen White Rhino’s future! There will never again be full bred Northen White Rhino but hopefully their will be Northen/Southern hybrids
     
  10. Elephant Enthusiast

    Elephant Enthusiast Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 Nov 2017
    Posts:
    280
    Location:
    British Columbia, Canada
    There will be pure bred Northern White Rhinos if the reproductive specialists are able to obtain eggs from Najin and Fatu, the remaining two Northern White Rhino females. Previously stated in the post #8:

     
    Jambo likes this.
  11. squirrelmonkey

    squirrelmonkey Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    3 May 2015
    Posts:
    114
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    This is obviously exciting news but as Zorro said in an earlier post "Could be a case of too little too late". The possibility of all this going to plan are very slim. Sure they haven't even got the eggs from Najin and Fatu. Long way to go.
    Also this paragraph gave me horrible flashbacks to A-Level Biology.
     
    Jambo likes this.
  12. Elephant Enthusiast

    Elephant Enthusiast Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 Nov 2017
    Posts:
    280
    Location:
    British Columbia, Canada
    Substantial advancements have been made public for the scientific reproduction of the northern white rhino!


    In August of 2018, the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research announced that Victoria's pregnancy was progressing well after conceiving through artificial insemination. Recently, in September of 2018, the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research announced that Amani, a southern white rhino, was pregnant and conceived through artificial insemination. If Victoria and Amani carry their pregnancies to term, the southern white rhino calves will be expected in the Summer and Autumn of 2019. The pregnancies are a significant achievement as both were the result of artificial insemination and the reproductive procedure used to conceive these pregnancies will assist scientists in the effort to save the northern white rhino.

    Last year, scientists succeeded in creating hybrid embryos using frozen northern white rhino sperm and harvested southern white rhino eggs. As recently as February 2019, Thomas Hildebrandt and his team from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo & Wildlife Research have harvested egg cells from several female southern white rhinos in zoos throughout Europe. The reproductive scientists have perfected the extraction procedure on southern white rhinos and are optimistic that the procedure will be successful on the two remaining female northern white rhinos.

    Once scientists have the clearance to extract egg cells from Najin and Fatu, the extraction procedure will be conducted and the oocytes will be transferred to a laboratory where the eggs will be fertilized with northern white rhino sperm. Once the oocytes have matured into blastocysts, the embryos will be implanted into a surrogate southern white rhino. However, scientists are still trying to perfect the process of implantation. Only when they master the method can they risk using the egg cells of the two remaining females and the preserved sperm to produce a pure northern white rhino calf. Fortunately, the scientists expect to optimize the process in several months.

    The effort to revive the northern white rhino has significantly progressed due to dedication and commitment of the scientists, reproductive specialists, and researchers. If all goes according to plan, the birth of a northern white rhino calf through in virto fertilization could happen in less than three years.