San Diego zoo plans to breed rhinos via artificial insemination

San Diego zoo plans to breed rhinos via artificial insemination

Wildlife experts at San Diego Zoo have plans to breed rhinos through artificial insemination, an effort that could help save species like northern white rhinoceros that have reached on the brink of extinction.

The northern white rhinoceros are perhaps the world's most endangered species as only four members of this species are left on Earth, following the death of an elderly white rhino at the Dvur Kralové zoo in the Czech Republic.

On of the only four northern white rhinoceros is Nola, which is being treated at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, which is now resorting to science to prevent the rhino's extinction.

In collaboration with La Jolla-based Scripps Research Institute, the Safari Park is working on a project called the Frozen Zoo, which is a genetic project to help save the endangered species of the rhinos.

The project has viable stem cells collected from twelve northern white rhinos to restore genetic variation. Experts at the zoo say that the rhino stem cells, which were first saved in 1979, can help them reproduce any tissue in the wild beast's body.

Dr. Oliver Ryder, the director of genetics for the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, said, Multiple steps must be accomplished to reach the goal of establishing a viable population that can be reintroduced into the species range in Africa, where it is now extinct."

In addition to northern white rhinos' stem cells, the Frozen Zoo project owns samples from as many as 8400 animals, representing nearly 800 species. The long list of animals includes the California gray whale, pandas, Gobi bears, condors and mountain gorillas.

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