Wednesday 22 November 2017

Northern White Rhino may be doomed following 'catastrophic' death of female

Rhino (stock)
Rhino (stock)

Rab Kassie Sheeran

The Northern White Rhino seems doomed to history after the death of a female in the Czech Republic

Nabiré the rhino died on July 27 when a huge internal cyst ruptured, zoo officials said there was no treatment that could save her life.

“Her death is a symbol of the catastrophic decline of rhinos due to a senseless human greed”, said Přemysl Rabas, the director of Dvůr Králové Zoo, 130km away from Prague.

The species has been extinct in the wild for a decade due to illegal hunting with the last animals living in captivity, three in a Kenyan conservation park and one in a San Diego zoo.

Bids to revive the species have been unsuccessful so far because natural breeding and IVF have failed. Although researchers and zoo staff continue their endeavours, the loss of Nabiré will diminish chances of ever achieving fruitful breeding.

However, her ovary has been sent to a research laboratory in Italy where scientists will attempt to extract healthy eggs.

If none the remaining females go in-calf, it is being considered to use the eggs to artificially inseminate the similar Southern White Rhino, which are more common in a last ditch attempt to salvage the Northern species.

Poaching has increased rapidly over the past few years due to demand for rhino horn in East Asia, where it’s known for its supposed medicinal properties, there are no scientific findings to prove this though.

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