Using stem cells to create artificial life is one of the most controversial areas of medical science. Barabra Demori, a moral philosopher from the University of Padua, has been asked to oversee the ethical dimension of the work.
John Waweru, the director general of the KWS, said: “We are delighted that this partnership gets us one step closer to prevent extinction of the northern white rhinos. This is particularly touching given the heartbreaking death of Sudan, the last male, who died of old age last year in Kenya.”
With no natural predators, northern white rhino once roamed in their thousands across the grassy plains that stretch along the southern edge of the Sahara desert, including in Uganda, the Central African Republic, Sudan, and Chad.
But demand for rhino horn for use in Chinese medicine and dagger handles in Yemen fueled a poaching crisis that saw them wiped out in large parts of their range in the 1980s and 1970s.
They were considered extinct in the wild in 2008 after a wide ranging survey failed to find any specimens. One last wild sighting was made by Russian helicopter pilots who saw three rhinos thought to be northern whites while overflying a remote part of Sudan in 2010, but none have been seen since.