An of world’s last two northern white rhinos dropped from race to save the species

NAIROBI, October 21 (Reuters) – One of the world’s last two northern white rhinoceroses, a mother and they daughter, is being withdrawn from a breeding program aimed at saving the species from extinction, scientists say on Thursday.

Najin, 32, is the mother of fatu who is now the only donor left in the program, which aims to implant artificially developed embryos in another more abundant species of Rhino in Kenya.

There are no known living men and neither of the two remaining northern white rhinoceroses can carry a calf term.

northern white rhinoceroses, die actually be grey, used to roam free in multiple countries in East and Central Africa, but their numbers plummeted due to widespread poaching for their horns.

A biorescue team led by researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and nature research in Germany is racing against time to save the worldthe most endangered mammal.

Najin (R) and her daughter Fatou, de last two females of the northern white rhinoceros, grazing in near their residence in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia National Park, Kenya March 31, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

“The team has reached the decision the oldest met retire of the two remaining females, 32-year-old Najin, as donor of eggs,” said Biorescue in a statement, which mentions ethical considerations.

Najin’s old age and signs of illness, were also taken into account, they said.

Scientists hope to implant embryos made from rhinoceroses’ eggs and frozen sperm from deceased males to surrogate mothers.

“We have been very successful” with Fatu… So far we have 12 pure northern white rhinoceros embryos,” David Ndeereh, the acting deputy director for research to the Wildlife Research and Training Institute, a Kenyan state organization, to Reuters.

“We are very optimistic that the project will succeed.”

The team hopes to deliver first northern white rhinoceros calf in three years and a wider population in the next two decades.

Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Nick Macfie

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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