November 15, 2019
It is believed there are as few as 40 Sumatran rhinos left in the wild, making them a critically endangered species. There are two subspecies of this rhino, one population lives in Sumatra, and the other in Borneo. Researchers are working hard to try and conserve these populations before it is too late for this rare species.
At the Kelian Lestari Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary a team plans to harvest eggs from the female rhino from Sumatra they have in their care, and artificially inseminate them with sperm from a male rhino from Borneo from another sanctuary. The team has observed no reproductive problems with the female, although she is small for her age which could be a potential problem.
The female is now being closely monitored to determine when she is ovulating so her eggs can be harvested and hopefully fertilized. If successful this would provide some hope for this rare species, although the plan was initially met with resistance from conservationists as it will involve mixing bloodlines from the two subspecies of rhino. Although, given the real risk of inbreeding in both populations, the mixing, if successful, will be able to broaden the gene pool of this species, hopefully giving the Sumatran rhino a fighting chance against extinction.
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