This California Rhino May Help Save an Entire Subspecies

She’s a surrogate for the almost-extinct northern white rhino.

A southern white rhino named Victoria was successfully impregnated via artificial insemination at the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Park. What’s especially significant about her embryo is its genetic link to the almost-extinct northern white rhino. Barbara Durrant, director of reproductive sciences at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, told NPR this is a first for the park.

“The effort took four months and many people,” Durrant said. “Scientists conducted frequent ultrasounds to monitor the fertility of six females. Lab personnel froze southern white rhino semen. Veterinarians anesthetized Victoria for the impregnation procedure.”

The researchers’ goal is for Victoria to someday give birth as a surrogate mother to a northern white rhino, a close subspecies for which only two remain.

It will take many months for the embryo to mature, but scientists are hopeful. You can read more here.