Najin and her offspring Fatu, are the last two remaining female northern white rhinos in the race to keep their species from total extinction.
On Tuesday, Kenyan Scientists, with experts from Germany and the Czech Republic were successful in harvesting eight eggs from Fatu and two eggs from Najin.
“The ovum pick-up went smoothly and without any complications.”
“The development of this project is creating hope for hundreds of other species who also lie on the brink of extinction. It simply must be done, but it’s going to cost a lot of money,” the conservancy wrote Wednesday.
Fatu and Najin have been living at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. The last male, Sudan, died in 2018.
The eggs will be taken to Avantea, a medical laboratory in Italy, where scientists will try to fertilize them with frozen sperm from Sudan.
“Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, a team of scientists and conservationists have made it from Europe to perform the third ovum pick up on our northern white rhinos, Najin and Fatu.”
“Although delayed by eight months, their dedication to the mission has been relentless.”
The first ovum pick up took place in August 2019, the second just four months later.
“We are hopeful that this procedure will lead to additional northern white rhino embryos, who will then join the three that are currently on ice until a suitable surrogate is available.”