A future for Rhinos?

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Rhinos are very large animals. The large horns on their noses make them look dangerous. But they are in danger themselves.

Some people kill rhinos because they are after the horns. These people are called poachers.

The poachers say: Rhino horns are medicine. They can cure many diseases. But that is not true. The horns are similar to our fingernails.

People in Africa have built a reserve for the rhinos. A reserve is a large piece of land with a fence around it. Inside the reserve, the rhinos are protected. There, the poachers can't kill them.

Many rhinos live in the reserve now. Some of them used to live in Kenya. And some rhinos came from zoos in America. The rhinos in the reserve get along well, and have babies together.

The first baby was called Obama, because his mother comes from America, and his father from Kenya. That’s the same as for Barack Obama, the former American president.

The reservation works well for certain rhinos called Southern White Rhinos. These rhinos are now safe. But there are other rhinos called Northern White Rhinos. These rhinos are still in great danger.

There are only two Northern White Rhinos left in the world. Both are females, and they are too old to have babies. The last male died this year. So very soon there will be no more Northern White Rhinos left. You can also say: The species will be extinct.

Researchers hope that artificial insemination can save the Northern White Rhino. This is how it works: A sperm is injected into an egg cell in a plastic dish. The sperm comes from the male Northern White Rhino. The researchers have frozen this sperm before he died.

The egg cell comes from the mother, a Southern White Rhino. After the sperm is injected, the egg cell is placed inside the mother. If a rhino baby develops, it will be half Northern White Rhino, and half Southern White Rhino.

The researchers do not yet know if this will work. Maybe the Northern and Southern White Rhinos are too different after all.

But if it works, the Northern White Rhino would not be completely gone. And maybe the researchers will be able to breed a whole Northern White Rhino sometime.


Reference: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46109393