Scientists decided to use IVF to save a rare species

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Scientists decided to use IVF to save a rare species

Sudan, the last of the males of the northern white rhinoceros, died in Kenya. Scientists who guarded the animal for the last 10 years, decided to put him to sleep due to diseases that occurred in his old age. Sudan was 45.

Now the only way to save the species and try to increase the number of white rhinos is to undergo in vitro fertilization. No one in the world has conducted such a procedure yet and it is unclear whether it will be effective.

As early as the middle of the 20th century, the population of northern white rhinos exceeded 2000 individuals, but after the 1960s, active extermination of animals began. Poachers killed rhinoceroses from the horn, it was believed that he has magical and healing properties. By the 1980s, there were not more than 20 individuals left in the world.

Sudan was born in the wild. Later he got to the zoo of the Czech city of Dvur-Kralove, and in 2009 was transported to Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Sudan became the father of two daughters – Nabir and Najin, and later he gave birth to Fatu’s granddaughter. Fatou, Najin and another male Sune moved together with Sudan to the Kenyan reserve. Researchers hoped that favorable conditions in this country would make possible the further reproduction of animals.

In the period from 2010 to 2012, all attempts at pairing rhinoceroses turned out to be unproductive and did not lead to the appearance of offspring. In 2014, Suni died, and Sudan remained the sole male of the northern white rhino on Earth. At about the same time, it became clear that both Fatou and Najin were unable to conceive naturally – the researchers had the task of saving an endangered species.

They tried to cross the male of the southern white rhinoceros with the females of the northern white rhinoceros, and in 2017 even posted a photo of Sudan in Tinder – an application for acquaintances – to draw attention to the endangered species and try to raise funds for IVF.

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