Photographer: Matjaz Krivic
Title: Future in the freezer – How a species of rhinos can be saved in a test tube lab
Location: Kenya, Italy
Period: 04/2021 - 05/2021
Category: Solutions

The northern white rhino is all but extinct. The two last male died several years ago. Two females are still with us, but too feeble to bear babies. In an Italian lab their eggs are now artificially fertilised by sperm from the three late males, and kept at minus 196 celsius, in hopes that surrogate rhinos from another sub species can carry the northern white back from the brink.



A gentle Giant being touched by her caretaker.

Najin one fo the last two remaining northern white rhinos being touched by her caretaker Zakhari Mutai in Ol Pejeta Conservancy

The last two Northern White Rhinos left in the World

The last two Northern White Rhinos left in the World mother Najin 31 and her doughter Fatu 20 and in the back their friend Tauvo 20 a Southern White Rhino who keeps them company behind double electric fence in Ol Pejeta Conservancy br The last Northern White male rhino Sudan died in 2018 He was 45 yeas old And when he died this sub species was functionaly extinct br Why Human greed br But human is also the one that wants to save the species with technologicaly assisted reproduction of stem cells br

Rhino's Cemetery in Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Rhino s Cemetery in Ol Pejeta Conservancy symbolically lit by a ray of light br Thanks to extensive security measures the conservancy hasn t lost a rhino to poaching in three years br br Slaughtered to near extinction for their horns made from the same matter that makes up fingernails or hair br Out of 16 graves here only two rhinos died their natural death all the rest were slaughtered by poachers for their horns

Resting under a hot afternoon sun

Najin 31 one of the last two Northern White Rhinos left in the World resting under a hot afternoon sun with her friend and caretaker Zachary Mutai in Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Confiscated ivory in front of Ol Pajeta Conservancy office

Confiscated ivory in front of Ol Pejeta Conservancy office br With the corona pandemic wreaking such unprecedented havoc on the local economy an increase in poaching was only to be expected br The years of clashing with the Somali mercenary militias who often trade ivory and rhino horns to finance armaments have put the rangers in good fighting shape br And probably the biggest change regarding poaching was the introduction of zero tolerance with life in prison for captured poachers in Kenya And in Kenya criminal possession of a rhino horn or elephant tusk carries a life sentence

Afternoon feeding place

The last two Northern White Rhinos left in the World mother Najin 31 and her daughter Fatu 20 at their afternoon feeding place with their friend Tauvo 20 a Southern White Rhino who keeps them company in the back at Ol Pejeta Conservancy

A strand of Najin's horn

Zachary Mutai holds a fibre from Najin s horn Poaching saw the population of northern white rhinos fall from around 2 360 in 1960 down to single two br Rhino s horn is made of keratine the same material as in your fingernails or hair br And they are being poached for their horns which are used by Chinese and Vietnamese as a traditional medicine

Insemination of the egg

Insemination of the egg from northern white rhino Fatu with frozen sperm from the deceased rhino bull of the same species at Aventa laboratory br With only two females left the subspecies of northern white rhino is functionally extinct Scientists and conservationists didn t give up hope on the northern whites Fighting against time they are trying to create the first northern white baby rhino out of the freezer at Avantea Laboratory in Cremona Italy They have already created twelve northern white rhino embryos

Removing the surrounding cells of the matured oocyte

A scientist at Aventa laboratory is removing the surrounding cells of the matured oocyte in preparation for injection of the sperm br With only two females left the subspecies of northern white rhino is functionally extinct Scientists and conservationists didn t give up hope on the northern whites Fighting against time they are trying to create the first northern white baby rhino out of the freezer at Avantea Laboratory in Cremona Italy They have already created twelve northern white rhino embryos

Anti-poaching unit during their night patrol

Ranger from the anti-poaching unit during their night patrol in Ol Pejeta Conservancy Kenya br In many places other than Kenya the poaching business keeps flourishing br Thanks to extensive security measures the conservancy hasn t lost a rhino to poaching in three years