How Scientists Are Trying To Save The Last 3 Northern White Rhinos

Researchers have come up with a plan to save the three last surviving females of Northern white rhino species. But there’s one major problem.


After Western black rhinos and Javan rhinos went extinct in 2011, northern white rhinos are also disappearing from the planet.  

After Nola, a 41-year-old female, was put down after prolonged illness in San Diego, the species is now survived by two females and an aging male who is too old to impregnate any of the female rhinos.

But scientists at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya have found a way to save them through an in-vitro fertilization project. They hope to raise $750,000 for the initiative. But even if this project raises the necessary funds, one expert says it might still not be enough to save the northern white rhino from extinction.

“Once you get down to four or five animals, you can’t even call it a species anymore,” said Rob Brett, Africa program director at Fauna & Flora International. “For that, you need a minimum of 20 unrelated animals. It is unrealistic to say you can save the species,” he added, according to The Australian.

Northern white rhinos have already been declared extinct in the wild as of 2008

The 42-year-old male named Sudan is kept in a strict care and security in a national park in Kenya as the onus of saving his species has befallen on him now. His horns, along with the ones of his two female companions, were already removed to deter poachers.


Most of these rhinos have succumbed to illegal hunting; poachers sell the rhinos' horns.

Despite several measures taken by different African countries, poaching has only seen an alarming increase, bringing the species to the brink of extinction.

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