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There are now just five northern white rhinos left in the world.

There are now just five of Africa's second largest mammals left on our planet.  The northern white rhino now only exists in captivity, with all being owned by the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic.  Four of their rhinos (two males and two females) were sent to Kenya in 2009 an effort to have them reproduce there, but this hasn't worked and one of the males has since died.  The remaining three northern white rhinos living in Kenya are kept under armed guard in a wildlife sanctuary, where they are safe from poachers, but still no closer to producing any more rhinos!

There have been no live births of northern white rhinos for the last fifteen years and there is now just one male left, a 43 year-old called 'Sudan', who lives at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.  He is now too old to be able to mate properly,  As a result. the species has a very slim chance of survival, but the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Animal Research is considering trying to create a new northern white rhino baby in a test tube, using in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).  These techniques are controversial, but the Institute has already succesfully produced an emrbyo for a black rhino and believes it could do the same for the northern white rhino.

Whilst human scientists are now in a desperate race to save the species before it dies out, it was human poachers that over the last few decades have wiped the species out in the wild.  

Photo:  Don McCrady

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