Scientists say they have created northern white rhino embryos
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Scientists announced Wednesday that they have succeeded in creating two northern white rhinoceros embryos as part of an effort to save the animal, of which there are only two left, both being female.

“Today we achieved an important milestone on a rocky road which allows us to plan the future steps in the rescue program of the northern white rhino,” Thomas Hildebrandt, of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Germany, said in a news release.

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The embryos, created with eggs taken from the female rhinos and frozen sperm from dead males, will now be transferred into a surrogate mother, a southern white rhino, according to The Associated Press.

The effort is part of a larger push by an international consortium of scientists working to create a herd of at least five animals that could be returned to their natural habitat in Africa.

The survival of the northern white rhino species has been in flux since the last male of the species died last year

“Five years ago it seemed like the production of a northern white rhino embryo was an almost unachievable goal — and today we have them,” said Jan Stejskal, director of communication at the Dvur Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic, where the two living female rhinos were born.

“This fantastic achievement of the whole team allows us to be optimistic over our next steps.”