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Northern white rhino ‘could be saved from extinction’

Only two females remain of the northern white rhino sub-species.

Scientists say they are several steps closer to perfecting a method for saving the northern white rhino from extinction.

Writing in the journal Nature Communications, researchers said they have succeeded in creating embryos using frozen northern white rhino sperm and eggs from a southern white rhino.

It is the first time such hybrid embryos have been created, and the scientists from Europe and the United States hope it will provide a pathway to saving the northern white rhino sub-species, of which only two females remain.

Fatu, left, and Najin are the only two female northern white rhinos left in the world (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

They plan to harvest the females’ egg cells soon and produce “pure” northern white rhinos to be borne by a southern white surrogate in three years.

They are also working on a second method that would see sperm and eggs produced from preserved cells of northern white rhinos.

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