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Rhino Resource Center: Rhino Forums > Rhino Species > Nile Rhino > northern white rhinos

Posted by: irek Jun 11 2007, 07:32 PM
I am a rhino keeper from Dvur Kralove Zoo in Czech Republic. I take care for herd of northern white rhinos. I would like to know what is a situation of that subspecies in the wild. Maybe anybody know if there are still rhinos in Garamba NP?

Posted by: adam Jun 13 2007, 08:41 PM

There are only 2 remaining Northern Whites in captivity in the US (a male and female) at San Diego's Wild Animal Park, and less 6 (probably only 2-3) left in Garamba.


Posted by: irek Jun 15 2007, 06:42 PM
Thanks for reply. Where did You find info about Garamba? Are You keeper from San Diego WAP?

Posted by: Feddi Jun 16 2007, 01:54 PM
Very nice to have these forums.

Keen to know if there is any progress in breeding the two northern white rhino cows in Dvur Karlove in Czech Republic? Would be nice to know how the herd is doing?

It seems to be very late in the day for this species.
Thanks allot
Best Wishes

Posted by: irek Jun 16 2007, 05:11 PM
On Tuesday Fatu and her mother Najin will be inseminated again. Maybe this time it will be OK. For me saveing northern white is now impossible. Unfortunately:( it is too late. I hope I am wrong.

Posted by: Feddi Jun 16 2007, 05:41 PM
Thanks for your prompt replie!

You are probably right, but there is always some hope while some of them are still around!
But great news that the Berlin team are working hard to help these rhinos.
I am sure they will not give up with out a good fight!

How many white rhinos are there at the zoo?
Do you know from wich males they get the semen?
I thought all of the northern white rhinos in captivity where related?

Fingers crossed for Tuesday...

Best wishes and Best of luck

Posted by: irek Jun 16 2007, 06:57 PM
OK. We have 2 males Suni (Saut's son) and Sudan (from the wild). Najin is Sudan's dother, Fatu is Saut's dother. Saut is dead but Berliners have his semen. Suni and Najin have one mother Nasima (also dead). So problem is with gene diversity and inbred in further group (if we will save them from extinction). There is also unrelated mail in San Diego WAP- his semen would be the best (he has no descendant).

Posted by: Feddi Jun 16 2007, 07:24 PM
Thanks allot for this.

Well-sounds very difficult indead.
Hope they are storing semen from all of them including the one from San Diego WAP.
Such a shame the change to remove some of them from Garamba NP was lost.
A really depressing story.

But one has to try to be optimistic. The Berlin team have done great things so far and I am in no doupt they will give this project their very best shot...

Keeping my fingers crossed for Tuesday...

With My Very Best Wishes and Masses of Good Luck!

Posted by: Feddi Jun 17 2007, 12:33 PM
Sorry one more question?
How come they are trying to inseminate both cows at the same time?
Are their cycles synchronised?

Thanks allot
Best Wishes

Posted by: adam Jun 17 2007, 07:15 PM
The Garamba number was based on a talk given by Dr. Tom Foose at the rhinoworkshop in 2005. He stated that 75%-100% have been killed over an 18 month time period just before the workshop. I do remember hearing that 4 were spotted in August of 2005, but I can not find the article.

Posted by: Willem Jun 17 2007, 07:39 PM
Adam, Feddi,

I believe this is the most recent article about the situation in Garamba:

The graph in the PDF indeed suggests 4 (or 5) remaining Northern Whites.

Posted by: Drooey Jun 19 2007, 12:14 PM
Thank you for the article, Willem. As an ardent lover of all the Rhino species, the situation for the Northern White is very upsetting. I just wanted to say what a valuable work you are all doing in the Czech Republic, Berlin and San Diego to keep this sub-species going.

I wish you all the best of luck in successful births and locating, perhaps, an extended gene pool,

Posted by: irek Jun 30 2007, 09:36 AM
I've read article from link and there was information about samples of tissues and DNA analises. My question is: does anybody preserve those samples for cloning purpose?

Posted by: Cyrielle Jul 5 2007, 03:10 PM
QUOTE (Feddi @ Jun 17 2007, 12:33 PM)
Sorry one more question?
How come they are trying to inseminate both cows at the same time?
Are their cycles synchronised?

Thanks allot
Best Wishes

Hi, I am a french keeper and i worked for 3 months in Dvur Kralove as a rhino keeper with Irek.

Actually, the berliners had done Fatu on the tuesday and came back on the friday for Najin 'cause their cycles are few days differents.

I am now back in France crossing fingers for the girls and for me too, to find promptly a job as a rhino keeper somewhere in France or UK.


Posted by: Feddi Jul 5 2007, 06:11 PM
Thanks allot for your replie!

Yes fingers crossed, would be brilliant to get an update from the Zoo.
Takes a month or two know if they got it right?

Good luck finding an interesting job.

Best Wishes

Posted by: Cyrielle Jul 5 2007, 06:18 PM
after the AI, they have to wait at least 40days to analyse the hormones of the females.

The Berlin team is hopefull for Najin because they took semen directly from Suni. For Fatu, they did it with frozen semen.

Sure i will keep in touch with my collegues from zoo and wait for, i hope, good news.

Thank you for your interest.


Posted by: Tom Jul 7 2007, 09:42 AM
The future doesn't look good for the northern white it seems. But if the insemination at Dvur Kralove succeeds, we'll at least have one or two northern white rhinos to work with. I keep my fingers crossed. Ever since I saw white (southern) and black rhinos roam the plains of Africa I fell in love with these fascinating creatures. And as long as there are northern whites alive, we have to keep hoping and trying to save them, although it's getting really really urgent.

Irek, can you please keep us posted when you know the outcome of the insemination at Dvur Kralove?

And does anyone know if it's true if there are no longer northern whites in Garamba? Last I heard there were three males and one adult female left. If so, does anyone know what people are doing to safeguard them from poaching? Here's hoping that that last cow has he opportunity to give birth to some calves in her lifetime. Given the succes story of the southern white (at the beginning of the 20th century there were some 100 left) it seems such a waste that they couldn't pull this off with the northern subspecies.

Tom, Belgium

Posted by: Tom Jul 9 2007, 05:45 PM
Hi everyone,

I read one of the northern white rhino in San Diego died of old age. So now they are down to just a single bull.

Does anyone know if there are plans to move him from San Diego to Dvur Kralove? It seems strange to keep a single male alone in the States when he may be really needed in DK to enrich the gene pool there. Is it possibly too dangerous to fly the animal to Europe or is there another reason why they don't put all the remaining animals in one zoo for captive breeding? Is it likely that natural breeding would occur in DK when the San Diego bull is put in whit the two remaining females? And have they taken seemen from him already?

And what about the search for possible survivors in Garamba? Any news about that recently?

I'm crossing my fingers that we will see some baby northern whites in the near future. Please keep me posted here...

Greetings from Belgium,


Posted by: JJ_thomas Jul 9 2007, 06:31 PM
Yes, I've read about it aswell. Seems to have happened more than a month ago though. Here's the news article:

Indeed good question Tom, hope the remaining animal is transported to help the population.

Kind regards,


Posted by: adam Jul 9 2007, 08:00 PM
There are actually two Northern Whites at San Diego, an elderly female (Nola I believe) and a male.


Posted by: Tom Jul 9 2007, 08:58 PM
Hi JJ and Adam,

Thanks for the information. So the article states that the rhinos were transferred to San Diego in the hope of breeding the species there. But since the other female is also older and not capable of reproducing anymore it seems kind of a waste to keep the male (who is healthy and of breeding age) in SD where there is no chance of reproducing. There are only two captive females left who are capable of breeding and they are both in Dvur Kralove. Furthermore, almost all the animals at Dvur Kralove are related in some way. The San Diego male is not. So in my mind, logic dictates that they transfer the male back to Dvur Kralove (and sooner rather than later)...? Probably, if the artificial insemination is succesful, they will try to inseminate the females of DK with the SD sperm, but the chances are still not very good. Since the younger female at DK is still quite young, isn't it possible that it could breed with a new male in the natural way?

I'm just thinking out loud now. Obviously I'm not a rhino expert. Maybe there are good reasons to keep the male in SD. Does anyone have an idea? Maybe the transport (when the animal has to be sedated) is risky and they are afraid of loosing yet another animal?

I'm very intrigued by this breeding program to save the species. Their future looks so grim. But on the other hand: there are lots of conservation success stories with species on the brink, so maybe they will pull it off... (I'm thinking for instance of the New Zealand black robin where the population was down to 5 animals, just one single breeding pair left, and now there are more than 200 again in the wild). But birds do breed easier than our rhino friends don't they?



Posted by: JJ_thomas Jul 9 2007, 09:34 PM
I totally agree with you Tom. And I don't even think it's necessary to sedate a rhino that has been in captivity for so long. I know the transport of Sumatran Rhinos goes quite well without sedating them. Offcourse a White Rhino is much larger, but I think it's possible.
(I also seem to recall a trick they use on elephants with live chicken hatchlings around their feet in the crate so the elephant won't move. Do rhinos do the same?)

But, if there are only 13 Northern Whites left is this sufficient to rebuild a larger population. Is a gene pool this small sufficient to create a large healthy group of animals?


Posted by: Tom Jul 18 2007, 05:24 PM
Hi Irek,

Any news yet from Dvur Kralove? Did any of the two northern white females get pregnant? When are they being tested to know if they are? I think it is about a month ago that they were inseminated, no?

Greetings from Belgium,


Posted by: adam Jul 18 2007, 08:45 PM
I am not sure the plan with the animals at San Diego, but I will say there were less than 15 left at Garamba at one time, and they were able to bounce back to around 30, so I would think 13 individuals would be enough. As far as transfering the animal from San Diego it needs to be noted that it is a the Animal Park and is not in a "tradional" zoo making preparation for a trip a little more tricky.

Posted by: SDWAP Jul 18 2007, 10:48 PM
Hi All!

I am one of many keepers that takes care of the rhinos at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. (1800 acres, 1500 mammals, of which we have eastern black rhino, NWR, SWR, and GOHA rhinos, 28 in all.) My friend Adam mentioned that you may be interested in why we are not going to move our bull Angalifu to Dvur Kralove.
Angi is approximately 35 years old, and has chronic arthritis. He is treated daily with cosequin for his stiffness and pain. He has been with breeding age females (including trying female SWRs) most of his tenure at the Park. He has never successfully bred a cow, and seems to have no interest in our females except for as company under a tree. We have successfully collected semen from him which is cryogenically preserved for future use. We recently sent a shipment to Druv Kralove, but it got lost in transport and was probably not viable by the time that the airlines got it to DK. We plan on collecting semen in the near future for shipment to DK. Angi is going back onto his beta-carotene regime to help increase his semen volume.
Additionally we need Angi as a cohort for our female NWR Nola. She is the female we tried to collect an ovary from earlier this year. Our female that died (primarily of old age) Nadi was her constant companion and we do not want to separate Angi and Nola at such an old age. If you have any more questions just let me know. We are doing our best to help these animals stay amongst us and not be an asterisk in a book. Jane

PS Feel free to see my talk (and others) from the last Rhino Keeper Workshop at our website

Posted by: Tom Jul 19 2007, 03:52 PM
Hi Jane,

Thank you so much for this information. I didn't know the animal was so old and had health problems. In light of that information, a transfer to DK doesn't seem like a good idea.

Are you in touch with Dvur Kralove? Do you know what's happening there of if there is any news about the two inseminated females?



Posted by: irek Jul 20 2007, 03:19 PM
There is no news from Dvur Kralove. Not yet. We are collecting dung samples and do our best to keep ladies in good condition.
Best regards

Posted by: Tom Jul 20 2007, 03:56 PM
Thank you Irek and keep us posted. Take good care of the girls.



Posted by: SDWAP Jul 20 2007, 07:49 PM
Tom and Irek,
You may want to consider joing the IRKA. We would get you contacts worldwide that work with the various species of rhinos. Our next conference is in Florida in 2009. Jane

Posted by: Tom Jul 21 2007, 10:39 AM
Hi Jane,

Thanks for the offer, but I'm not a rhino keeper or someone that deals with rhinos in a professional way. I'm just a nature lover and rhino enthousiast and I like to follow the plight of these magnificent animals closely. Especially the precarious situation of the northern whites is of interest to me ever since I fell in love with their southern cousins when visiting Namibia, South Africa and Kenya.

I hope that you all can pull it off and save these unique animals. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. You're doing positive and important work.

Good luck,


Posted by: Feddi Jul 24 2007, 07:12 PM
Very interesting discussion.

Excited to get news from the Check republic, but it will be a big story, so I guess we will not hear about it straight away. Well maybe.

Anyway keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well.

There is another succsess story from the Cincinnaty zoo, they are expecting the first AI indian rhinoceros calf in 5 months time.
Very well done.

Best Wishes and thanks allot.

Posted by: irek Jul 25 2007, 10:56 AM
Is there anybody who know something about that:
I've read article from link about northern white and there was information about samples of tissues and DNA analises. My question is: does anybody preserve those samples for cloning purpose?

Posted by: SDWAP Aug 1 2007, 08:00 PM
The Wild Animal Park did retrieve copious amounts of tissue from our NWR that died 2 months ago. Our Dr. Matt Milne of CRES is cloning rhino estrogen receptor genes for a research project on reactions to plant phyto-estrogens. The thought is that the PPEs may inhiibit the function of the RER genes affecting reproduction as it does in sheep. His work will be done some time next year. That's all I know about for cloning. Jane

Posted by: irek Aug 2 2007, 05:04 PM
Thanks for information. But in San Diego You work on your samples- taken from Your animals. In text there was information that some samples were taken from wild animals in Garamba. I was/ am interested if that sampes were/are preserved for cloning purpose.
I hope You will find way to clone big mammals like rhinos.

Posted by: Cyrielle Aug 3 2007, 04:26 PM
hello, I have a question, do you know if it is possible to find physical differences between northern and southern whites ?

I was thinking about the hair on the body and on the ears... ??

If somebody can give me some details ? smile.gif

Thank you!

Posted by: Tom Aug 4 2007, 08:39 AM
Hi everyone,

The last aerial survey at Garamba conducted bij the African Parks Foundation found evidence of at least 3 individual northern whites. This survey was conducted in April 2007. On another site I read there were two adult males, one adult female and one juvenile male left.

Does anyone have other, more recent information?



Posted by: Tom Aug 8 2007, 09:28 PM
Hi everyone,

Since the insemination of the two females at Dvur Kralove occurred mid-June and we would have to wait about 40 days for the results, it should be known right now if one or both of the inseminations were succesful... no?

Irek, any news yet?



Posted by: Tom Sep 8 2007, 11:52 AM
Still no news from Dvur Kralove? I'm hoping no news is good news...?


I received an e-mail from African Parks. They are convinced there are still a couple of northern white rhinos in garamba. No animal has been poached in recent months so there is a very small chance the species could still be saved in the wild... Here's hoping.

Posted by: Willem Sep 8 2007, 01:05 PM
That's some great news Tom. Hope we hear some good news from Dvur Kralove aswell.

Posted by: irek Sep 8 2007, 02:48 PM
I have no news unfortunately. I hope we will know something during next few weeks.
If there are still northern white in Garamba what government or someone responsible is going to do with them?

Posted by: Tom Sep 12 2007, 05:49 PM
Hi Irek,

Keep us posted off course. wink.gif

The organisation African Parks is now responsible for Garamba and several other parks in Africa. Their survey in May or June found evidence of at least three northern whites of wich one female, but there could be more even. The main thing I guess would be to keep the rhinos safe from poaching and hope they manage to breed. If that's not the case I hope they will work on somekind of spectacular rescue operation. Since they reinforced and reinstated a lot more armed guards in the parks, poaching has decreased dramatically so that is good news, also for the elephant population and all the other animals. I hope they can manage to save the rhinos in the wild somehow, although chances of that happening are really slim with so few animals remaining. It would take a miracle I guess.

Anyway, I hope you and the team can work miracles at Dvur Kralove and make some baby rhinos! smile.gif



Posted by: irek Sep 13 2007, 06:51 PM
Hello Tom
Thanks for reply.
I think it would be fantastic if someone could take semen from that wild northern white males. I don't know if there are fast and easy way of collecting semen but... it would be a great. We have to remember that there were only 3 founders of Dvur Kralove population (Nasima- female, Sudan, Saut- males) no more animals from the wild have taken part in reproduction. We tryed to inseminate females with semen from SDWAP but semen disappired at airport and when appeared again it was in bad condition. I don't know if they will collect semen from Angalifu again.
It would be good to have tissues of wild northern whites for cloning purpose in the future.
Who has a power and do it?smile.gif
Best regards

Posted by: Feddi Oct 21 2007, 01:04 PM
Hi Irek

Any news from Dvur Kralove?

I saw this week that the Berlin team managed to inseminate the female white rhino from the Budapest zoo, for the second time back in June this year. And they managed to use frozen sperm. Such a great neews!

Would be brilliant if they had some success with the ones you are looking after.

Anyway Best of Luck

Feddi smile.gif

Posted by: irek Oct 24 2007, 03:23 PM
I have no good news. Both (Fatu and her mother Najin) aren't pregnant sad.gif With Fatu it is for 100% with Najin for 99%.
So next year is lost.

Posted by: ChrisL Oct 24 2007, 03:44 PM
That's so sad to hear! Do you know what caused this? Are they too old?

Posted by: Feddi Oct 24 2007, 07:21 PM
Thanks allot for sharing this with us Irek.

Sorry to hear, but these things happen.
Any idea when the Berlin team will try again?

Next time (lets hope) will be a succsess...

Best Wishes


Posted by: Tom Oct 24 2007, 08:49 PM
Hi Irek, hi everyone,

Very sad news that the AI didn't work out. I was really really hoping that it would work so the northern whites had a glimmer of hope to hang on to. But all is not lost right? I suppose the Berlin team will keep on trying and hopefully succeed very soon.

Thank you Irek for keeping us posted regularly. Do you know if and when they are going to try the next insemination?



Posted by: Willem Oct 25 2007, 12:01 AM
Thanks for sharing Irek!

Hope you'll be able to try again. Also the situation in Garamba looks grim. Only 4 seem to be remaining and there's a possibility their all the same gender. I believe African parks is now in charge of the situation, and I hope the'll be able to secure this small white rhino population.

Irek do you have any news about new attempts and maybe extracting the Garamba Rhinos?

Posted by: RFU Nov 1 2007, 08:17 AM
Dear All,

I have been following your correspondence with interest. I am Heidi Cragg, E.D. for Rhino Fund Uganda. We have 6 Southern White Rhinos on our sanctuary here in central Uganda (the only rhinos currently in this country) and we believe that at least one of our females are pregnant. biggrin.gif

I know for a fact that the previous E.D. tried to get some N.W. rhinos from Garamba early in 2005 when there were still around 20 left, but due to the situation in the country, the translocation has been politicised and the Garamba Park staff together with local communities in NE DRC and several government Ministers have been stirred up to rebel violently against the idea. With the lack of political stability in DRC, it was unrealistic for the translocation to go ahead. Very sad indeed!

Posted by: Tom Nov 1 2007, 11:21 AM
Dear Heidi,

Very good news indeed that rhinos are getting a second chance in Uganda. Hopefully this is a good start to a secure and prosperous future there! Too bad for the northern whites though. That's the species that should really roam the plains of Uganda. But any rhino is better than no rhino, off course.

Do you have more information on the situation of the few remaining northern whites in Garamba? Are they still trying to convince the DRC government to agree to translocation of the remaining animals to a safe haven in Uganda or Kenya?

Most information on the internet is so contradictory: some sites say there are no rhinos left in Garamba. Some say 2, 3 or 4. Some say both genders are still present. Others say the remaining animals are all the same gender so they can't reproduce.

One more question for you Heidi: what about black rhinos? Are there plans for reintroducing them to Uganda any time soon? I suppose it is the eastern black subspecies who used to live there?

Thank you for the information and keep up the good work in uganda!


Posted by: RFU Nov 2 2007, 06:43 AM
Dear Tom,

Thank you for your reply and good wishes! Unfortunately all I know for now is the same as you. I am though going to enquire to see if we can try to secure any N.W rhinos left in DRC, but to be quite honest - I'm not getting my hopes up on this one.
2 Black rhinos were given to UWA in August by Kruger National Park in South Africa, I am hoping that they will be given to our sanctuary, which I am busy negotiating, so fingers crossed on that one.


Posted by: Jimbo Nov 22 2007, 11:21 PM

I was reading this post and decided to do a search on black rhino in Uganda. Not that I found any new news, but have a look at this:

Look at the pictures and the caption. Why can't people not even get the species right when the write an article on it. Well, that's my little rant.

Anyway, any new developments at Dvur Kralove or Garamba?



Posted by: Willem Dec 24 2007, 02:18 AM
African Parks seems pretty serious about their new involvement in Garamba. Their site has lots of information:

and a video about the conservation efforts in Garamba:

I hope they will be able to stabalise the situation in the Park!

Posted by: Tom Dec 26 2007, 10:20 PM
Hi ,Willem,

I regularly check the African Parks site for news on Garamba. Some info regarding the northern white rhinos in garamba may be found in the monthly reports under 'documents'. In november 2007 they found the tracks of an adult rhino. So they are still out there...



Posted by: Tom Dec 27 2007, 09:39 PM
Hello everyone,

Since the first artificial insemination of the northern white females at Dvur Kralove didn't succeed, I was wondering if and when they will give it another try. Since AI already worked on southern whites, they must have hope that it will work for the northern subspecies at DK too, no?

If anyone has news, please let me know.

Thank you!

And best wishes to everyone in 2008. Hopefully it will be a good year for our rhino friends too. With lots of babies... smile.gif


Posted by: Feddi Jan 19 2008, 12:59 PM
Hi Irek

Hope things are good with you.
Was very nice and exciting to get all the feedback from you last year.

Thanking you for that.

Would be very good to hear how your heard of Northern rhinos are doing?
Obviously also very keen to know where the Berlin team are at in their work to try to get the two females to conceive.

When you have time would be most grateful for some news.

All the Best

Posted by: irek Jan 20 2008, 05:41 PM
No news from Dvur. Cooperation with Berliners from IZW is finished without success. This year we let our male/males work alone. Hope better than before.
Best regards

Posted by: Tom Jan 20 2008, 05:54 PM
Hi Irek,

Thanks for your reply. Do you know the reason why the Berlin team doesn't work with the northern whites at DK anymore? Is it just temporary? I mean, are they going to resume their efforts to try AI on them? In the light of recent successes with the southern whites, it seems strange that they don't continue their work with the northern subspecies since it is in such a precarious position. But they will probably have their reasons I guess.

If you know anything, please let us know. Thank you!



Posted by: irek Jan 20 2008, 06:01 PM
I will aks my boss for details.
If You want to see my northern whites here is link to photogalery:

Posted by: Feddi Jan 20 2008, 07:11 PM
Thanks allot for your response Irek.

Your photos are great.

Honestly bit disappointed to hear the Berliners are not helping more for now.

It's a very slim chance they will made naturally, is it not?
It's a common problem for white rhinos in zoos around the world. Well apart from reasonably big herds with plenty of space.
Hope this has nothing to do with politics.

But thanks allot for keeping us informed.

All the Best

Posted by: Willem Jan 20 2008, 09:28 PM
Thanks for the link Irek,

Those Northern White look very 'northern' in that snow.

Do they behave differently once that snow falls??

Posted by: irek Jan 23 2008, 07:59 PM
I would say that their behaviour is normal. They lie under the roof on sand. They walk, look for a mud under the snow. Like during the summer.

Posted by: irek Jan 23 2008, 08:12 PM
OK. You asked about future plans. Main zoologist let me write about his idea. He things that there is no hope for reproduction in Dvur (next narcosis can have bad influence on their health). He would like to send almost all of them (condition is criterion) to Uganda (I don't know where exactly). It would be large fenced area. People who'd like to look at them would pay for it and money would go for rhino conservation somewhere. IZW team told that they could work in that case. They could even try another AI there. May be that relocation would stimulate animals. It isn't for 100%, that's only idea right now. But if future has to be black for that subspecies it is better to give them that peace of freedom before...
Probably some (all) of You are shocked.

Posted by: Feddi Jan 23 2008, 08:54 PM
Thanks Irek

Why not? But would need to happen before it is to late for both females to have calves. However will be very risky in terms of infectious diseases. The males are very old though?
Please keep us informed.

Best Wishes

Thanks allot huh.gif

Posted by: Tom Jan 23 2008, 09:24 PM
Hi Irek,

Thank you for the news, although it's a bit chilling.The clock is really ticking for that subspecies now, isn't it? So the only hope left is natural mating in Africa or a very slim chance they will try AI again in Africa. So if that's the plan, better sooner than later I would think. Maybe the animals will reproduce naturally when they are in a (more or less) free natural environment? But on the other hand, they have lived in captivity for so long, it's probably a long shot...

If only it was possible to relocate those few remaining animals from Garamba to the same fenced area. Maybe some new blood would stimulate them to give it a shot. But i'm afraid I'm dreaming out loud...

Keep us posted ok? I really appreciate your inside information.



Posted by: Willem Jan 24 2008, 02:08 AM
There are some people suggesting crossbreading the northern and southern whites before re-introducing them. This may reduce the risk of infectious diseases, but skilled vets and a good quarantine might do the trick aswell. Is crossbreeding a solution?

Crossbreeding Southern and Northern Whites as they suggest in the discusion (link) above might help the translocation, but will the Northern Whites then remain a different species?

Irek, what is your oppinion about their genetic differences and crossbreeding?

Posted by: irek Jan 25 2008, 06:01 PM
It will be MY and ONLY MY idea: crossbreeding could be a way of preservation of northern white genes. We will loose pure subspecies (probably we will loose it without hybridization), we will get line (look at history of Bizon bonansus conservation:,M1 ). Northern white's genes could better adopt hybrids to Uganda, DRC climate and local diseases. In pure captive population there were 3 founders (2 males, 1 female) now only (probably) 3-4 animals are able to reproduce (all related). 2 unrelated animals in SDWAP are to old for transport, may be to old for another narcosis, 1 unrelated female in Dvur is also to old for baby. But if we could start crossbreeding we could use a semen of northern males in any zoos in the world. We could create southern white female heard in Dvur or SDWAP with Northern males. We could use a semen of southern white to AI Northern white females. There is many possibilities. Or we could agree that northern females would be AI only with northern white semen or mated only by Northern bulls.
Of course it is only another idea. This time my own.
I am glad You did not kill me and Dvur Kralove main zoologist for his idea. There was a huge storm over it yesterday and day before in Czech newspaper and tv.
Yesterday in one Czech newspaper there was info that there is peace in south-eastern part of DRC- may be ti is hope for Northern white subspecies?
Best regards for all

Posted by: irek Jan 25 2008, 06:03 PM
this link to european bison action plan is better (full actionplan).

Posted by: Feddi Jan 26 2008, 08:15 PM
Thanks allot for your feedback Irek.

Very nice to know someone with the inside informations.

Interested to know what the "media storm" was actually about?
I know there was allot of excitement in your home country around the last northern white rhino birth in 2000.

Personally I think one should try to keep the northern white rhinos pure for now if at all possible, but if not possible then their genes could (possible) be helpful for the southern white population.

I know there is always risks involved in sedating wild animals, but my impression is that the Berlin team are very experienced.
They have done a brilliant work with asian elephants around Europe and managed 3 southern white rhino pregnancyes in Budapest.

It is a big risk balance exercise. There are allot of risks involved in moving the animals back to Africa and time is a very important factor in the whole equation.
For the Northern white rhinoceros time is sadly running out...

Well I am far from a specialist in this area.

Thanks allot

Best Wishes ohmy.gif

Posted by: irek Jan 28 2008, 06:42 PM
Hello Feddi
In newspaper was information that Zoo Dvur Kralove wants to send northern white rhinos to Africa. I don't know what was the source of their information. They contacted with former and actual EEP white rhino coordinator. Actual coordinator was against it, told that he won't give permition for that, that something more is hiden (money). At the end told if Dvur did it it would loose its EAZA membership like Hodenhagen Zoo.
So once more: 1. right now it is only idea. 2. if they back to Africa only animals in good condition will go there (those who can be transported without bigger risk). 3. Dvur won't get money for rhinos and all money which animals earn in Africa will be spent on rhino conservation in-situ.

I know that Berliners had succes in Budapest 3 time (few days ago they made AI in Bratislava Zoo) but they have tried AI in Dvur 5 time together without good results.
May be someone know how many time they have inseminated female in Budapest to get all those pregnancies?
Best regards

Posted by: Feddi Jan 30 2008, 07:35 PM
Dear Irek

Thanks allot for your responce.
I am not sure how many times they had to attempt AI in Hungary before finally succseeding. They have though produced a paber on this.

I know the team in Cincinnati had several attempts before finally one of the two females Indian rhinoceros fell pregnant. Guess it will take several attempts?


All the Best

Posted by: rhinocap Feb 6 2008, 07:37 PM

I was under the impression that Dvur maintained the white rhino Species Coordinatorship under Kristina Tomasova. Has there been a roll call change recently?

I personally do not have much against a planned relocation of the last northern white rhino to Uganda and integrate them with the few survivors from Garamba there.

It has been suggested before ... but at the time the Garamban authorities were again the major obstacle to the plan going through. Perhaps with this African Parks organisation a more realistic relationship can be made to work (if alas a little too much on the late side ....).

I consider Dvur 1 of the world leaders in rhino breeding and have more faith in their management capabilities AND their foresight in looking at possibilities to reintroduce some captive-born taxa to the wild (roans, buffalo and now perhaps black rhino too).

I would also like to ask you some questions regarding the other rhino species at Dvur. Is that at all within your scope? If so, I will put some questions in the black rhino forum!!!



Posted by: RFU Feb 7 2008, 06:31 AM
Dear Irek,

I am the Executive Director for Rhino Fund Uganda, and we have 6 Southern White Rhinos on our sanctuary - size is 7000ha with a 14 strand electric fence around the parameter. Our rhinos are monitored 24/7 by armed rangers and our breeding project is well under way with a rhino calf on its way - we're ecpecting our one female to give birth within the next couple of months. I see in previous posts that there is a possiblity of relocating the Northern Whites to Uganda. Can you please put me in touch with the correct people so I can see what I can do to get them here to us, as we have the only secured ranch in Uganda and we can provide these animals with the freedom they deserve and no threat of poachers. My contact email is: and phone no: +256 77 271 3410
Hope to hear from you soon.
Regards, Heidi Cragg

Posted by: Tom Feb 12 2008, 09:10 PM
Hi everyone,

On the website of the African Parks Foundation I read in the monthly report (january 2008) from Garamba National Park that they are preparing a white rhino capture in March and April! They will intensify the monitoring in the rhino sector in preparation of 'operation rhino'...?

Now this seems exciting news. I didn't find any information about what they are trying to achieve with this. Is it relocation? To another country or to a fenced area? I don't know.

Does anyone have any information about this proposed rhino capture?



Posted by: DZiegler Apr 5 2008, 12:36 AM

Please refer to the latest issue of
Pachyderm vol 43, Jul-Dec 07 in the African Rhino Specialist Group Report, the strategic plan for the northern white rhino is spelled out to some extent.
The report makes for very interesting reading.

Posted by: rhinocap Apr 5 2008, 08:29 AM
It appears that the African Parks organisation is actively pursueing capture of the last wild northern white rhinos for an intensive boma based breeding programme. I assume the plan devised at the special rhino meeting in September last year has borne out fruit.

I just wonder whether any of the individuals listed below were actually invited for this critical meeting to address the continued survival of this now critically endangered taxon:
1) Did the Dvur Kralove rhino manager attend?
2) Did the EEP White Rhino studbook keeper attend (or has he been approached following on to the meeting)?
3) Did the IZW people from Berlin attend (essential in any intensive breeding operations)?

It would be essential for any last ditch attempt to safeguard the future of this taxon that the wildlife ecology community work together with the captive-breeding community. A previous attempt failed miserably due to widely differing views on how to manage the species and substantially increase their numbers.

My personal view is that it would be for the best to relocate the last northern whites from Garamba to a safe intensive rhino reserve. That either gives either Ziwa in Uganda (being in its former range) or Lewa Downs (most experienced at breeding and handling rhinos) in Kenya as the best alternatives.

It is also my view that sooner rather than later - the suggested plans by the Dvur zoologist and keepers should come to fruition. If and when this happens, the EEP white rhino studbook keeper should be acknowledged and involved in the entire process and it should be an integral part of the EEP to financially support the intensive breeding management scheme (with equal acknowledgement by the wildlife community vis a vis the contribution of captive managers to this initiative.

I suppose Irek and his seniors will wholeheartedly agree on this.


Posted by: DZiegler Apr 5 2008, 12:27 PM
Interesting comments. I generally agree on relocation.
If the safety of the animals cannot be guaranteed then the whole effort runs the risk of failure. I also agree the initiative must be collaborative on all levels.

Posted by: Tom Apr 7 2008, 08:44 PM
Thanks for the information guys. Let's hope they succeed in saving the northern whites... That would be such great news! I will be following the African Parks monthly reports very closely to check if there is more news from Garamba.



Posted by: DZiegler Apr 11 2008, 12:50 AM
fyi 3/10/2008 Newsweek article by Sharon Begley documents the role of the Janjaweed in the catastrophic poaching of the northern white rhino at Garamba in 2003. The article is on line at the Newsweek website.

Posted by: Willem Apr 18 2008, 09:42 AM
I just came across this:

The Scottish are going to try Stem cell merging with the Southern Whites.

Posted by: DZiegler Apr 19 2008, 11:52 AM
Interesting census numbers on the northern white rhino. I agree with WWF. However it is still clear (from this report) that relocation to Kenya (or Uganda) is essential for the survival of the remaining animals. This is a good time for NGO's to work together and launch funding appeals to support this work. At the same time, I think the general public really needs to see more about the realities of the wildlife trade. I personally have decided to increase my IRF committment this year. But, I also financially support WWF.

Posted by: rhinocap May 23 2008, 09:23 PM
Pete Morkel has done some reconaissance over Garamba in April with the new Garamba guards. No sign of NWR's has been logged in over 1 month. A news report has been put out that NWR is extinct in the wild.

The APF website (April report) states it requires another 4-5 months of intensive rhino searches before anything concrete can be put forward. However, given that Pete Morkel could not not, does not bode well for the immediate future ...

Posted by: DZiegler May 28 2008, 10:53 AM
Thanks for the info. Seems clear from the April APF report that assessment alone of the remaining wild population of NWR's is huge task which the Park may not have adequate resources to complete. This report underscores the necessity of maintaining a captive population of these animals.
At the same time I am not sure I saw a written abstract from the Rhino May Day regarding the status of NWRs.

Posted by: irek Jun 14 2008, 04:54 PM
I have some information from Dvur Kralove Zoo. Since couple of days male Sudan (oldest male, wild born) is joined with all - 4 females. It seems like he's chosen Fatu (the youngest female, born in 2000) as a partner. Now my colleagues are waiting till her oestrum for any results.
So keep Your fingers crossed.
Best regards

Posted by: Feddi Jun 15 2008, 09:32 PM
Thanks for the info.
Will keep them crossed!
Best of luck!
Best Wishes


Posted by: Tom Jun 17 2008, 08:15 PM
Hi Irek, hi everyone,

Wouldn't that be great news if the rhinos decide to make another baby 'the natural way'.

Definitely keep us posted Irek. I'm very curious to find out how it turns out.

Concerning garamba: still no rhinos according to the African Park monthly report of May. But they're deploying an expert rhino tracker to help them. Let's hope they succeed in finding the animals.



Posted by: DZiegler Jun 18 2008, 12:43 AM
fyi Both CNN and CBS announced yesterday the same story that the remaining few northern white rhinos in Garamba have not been located. If true, this development closes the book on any free ranging nwr's in the Garamba. The drama, mystery and concern about this subspecies however will continue. The responsibility for the future of this rhinoceros group may now shift entirely to those that manage and care for them in captive populations. This is an awesome task and deserves much respect and support.

Posted by: Feddi Jun 18 2008, 08:15 PM
Very sad

The IRF veb side says they are most likely extinct in the wild.
What a shame, Garamba NP will loose it´s status as a world heritage side.

Shame the government did not act when there was still some tiny hope.
Would be nice if anything positive happened in the Check republic.

The White southern subspecies is however going from strength to strength. Last year more than 17.000.

All the Very Best


Posted by: rhinocap Jun 18 2008, 08:53 PM
It is never good to point fingers but the Congo authorities bear the brunt in failing to address the poaching threat from 2003 onwards. Had they acknowledged previously that given the insurgency of Sudan Janjaweed militias and Uganda's Lord's Resistence Army the northern white rhino would not have beeh single-handedly killed off as a taxon. What an epitaph for both next to their atrocities committed against humanity in general. Personally, I would have wished that substantial and armed intervention forces would have been deployed to both Sudan and Uganda to prevent both militias from committing these crimes against humanity and our wildlife and other natural resources. In my view these are some of the worst criminals on earth, yet the politicians who rule let them all walk free .....

The current outlook for Ceratotherium simum cottoni is extremely dim and if the rhino tracker from S.Africa will not find any trace of rhino spoor inside Garamba within the next 2-3 months (it will have gone the same road as the western black rhino in Cameroon) in the wild.

All we are then left with is a handful in Dvur - of which only perhaps 1.2 are reproductively viable - and 2 elderly rhinos in San Diego. To come back from that precipice will require a leap of faith in technological achievement in the next 1-5 years by the IZW staff and firm establishment of in-vitro and egg transfer technology to impregnate these into surrogate southern whites Ceratotherium s. simum.

Will this many surrogate southern whites be available? Will the current studbook keeper Lars Versteege support this particular course of action?

I would like to know now!

Posted by: irek Jun 20 2008, 10:14 PM

nice to read that there are more and more southern whites but we are waiting for more northerns, aren't we?

Posted by: Feddi Jun 21 2008, 06:56 PM
Seems to be too late sorry to say. Really depressing...

However the news of the black rhino and the southern white are absolutely brilliant.

Any news from your rhino herd?
Anything new in their management to try to get them to breed?
Is the Berlin team still around?

Most grateful for your inside informations

Very Best Wishes huh.gif

Posted by: irek Jun 23 2008, 05:33 PM

my friend sent it to me:(

Posted by: rhinocap Jun 23 2008, 05:45 PM
It is sad that usually media titles do not accurately reflect its content. The title infers the 3-4 individuals remaining in 2006 have been hunted.

Yet the story is: quote [The northern white rhino, Ceratotherium simum cottoni, has been struggling for suvival since the 1970s, when numbers dropped from about 500 to 15. A slight recovery was recorded in 2003 when 30 were counted but by 2006 only four were left. All of them were recorded in the Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo but war and civil unrest in the region has led to an increase in poachers.

“Worryingly, recent fieldwork has so far failed to find any presence of these four remaining rhinos,” Dr Martin Brooks, a rhino specialist with the IUCN, said. “Unless animals are found during the intensive surveys that are planned under the direction of the African Parks Foundation the subspecies may be doomed to extinction.”] unquote

The taxon is thus not demonstrated to be extinct, but feared extinct following widespread poaching in Garamba. Only further and more intensive surveys over both the rainy and dry seasons in Garamba will provide accurate information about their (non-)existence at present.

However, I will admit that their future in the wild is might bleak and the situation with no breeding since 2000 in the last captive individuals makes me feel very uncomfortable for the species. Best not to loose hope .....!

Posted by: Feddi Jul 6 2008, 09:50 AM
Hi all

Found this from April 18th 2008:

"Captive rhinos at heart of breeding programme

Further to your report on the bid to save rare animal species (17 April), I would like to add that this groundbreaking research concept allows the inclusion of infertile, captive northern white rhinos in a breeding programme and even permits frozen cell samples from dead individuals to be used.
I'd like to emphasise that due to the high-tech approach the only animals that will be involved are the remaining captive northern white rhinos in two zoos and not individuals living in the wild. The final goal is to create a stabile captive northern white rhino population.

The major advantage of the procedure is that only skin samples of the northern white rhinos are required. These will be joined with embryos of their southern counterpart to produce pure sperm and eggs derived from the northern white rhino.


Institute for Zoo & Wildlife"

Well some hope there! HE is a great man.

Best wishes


Posted by: rhinocap Jul 22 2008, 08:15 PM
Hot off topic Garamba for June (APF):

Revision of the new strategy for the rhinos search. This time, in addition of departments of Monitoring
(reinforced with trackers specialized in rhinos) aerial and rangers, the community department is going to try to work with the people living around the park.

Targets for July
- Beginning of rhino search program, phase 2.

They have not yet given up on C. simum cottoni!

Posted by: mario Aug 15 2008, 09:09 PM
African Parks Foundation's July Report released.

Search for Northern Whites continue.

Keep updated through their monthly reports at:

Posted by: rhinocap Oct 12 2008, 12:51 PM
A rhino researcher is currently training and on patrol with the rangers in Garamba. Despite just under 1600 hours of patrolling in September 2008 no rhino sign.

For October the 2 Kenyan rhino trackers are due to arrive. I actually stayed at their reserve, but the September travel was adjourned till the next month.

I become less hopeful of any positive rhino sign given the search since April 2008 has not given anything. Still I suppose surveys should continue in a systematic manner for another 6-8 months before we could safely say the northern white taxon is extinct in the wild.

Keep fingers crossed (and also for the AI/NI at Dvur)!

Posted by: Feddi Nov 22 2008, 02:59 PM
Dear Irek

Hope things are good.

Any news from the northern white rhinos at your zoo?

Best Wishes

Posted by: mario Nov 22 2008, 07:38 PM
QUOTE (mario @ Aug 15 2008, 09:09 PM)
African Parks Foundation's July Report released.

Search for Northern Whites continue.

Keep updated through their monthly reports at:

The october report is now avail at

re: the search for the Northern Whites in Garamba N.P

Posted by: rhinohelp Aug 10 2009, 12:29 PM
The Northern White Rhino is extinct in the Wild and the only 4 fertile animals are to be moved to Kenya where it is hoped that they will be stimulated to breed under natural conditions. We believe that the chances now for the Northerns White Rhino to breed are very slim.

We have a proposal for the survival of the Northern White Rhino. For now this is not official but there are several people advocating this plan.

We are advocating the creation of subspecific hybrids with Southern White Rhinos through artificial insemination of Southern females with Northern semen. Artificial insemination has worked to produce pure Southerns. It has so far failed in Northerns.

This is the quickest and cheapest way to produce a large number of animals containing Northern DNA. It is hoped that these subspecific hybrids could be used to rebreed or recreate the Northern White Rhino in future.

We would be very happy if pure Northerns were born too, especially for their mtDNA component, as this would be lacking in subspecific hybrids between male Northerns and female Southerns.

We are already raising funds for this innitiative.

Please reply here or email with your thoughts or for more information.

Posted by: Tom Aug 11 2009, 06:39 PM
Hi, do you know when exactly the Dvur Kralove animals are being moved to Kenya? Is it certain that that will happen or is it an option? Exactly how many animals are left in Dvur Kralove? Sorry about all the questions, but I'm not finding any info on the internet about this decision.

Thank you very much!


Posted by: rhinohelp Aug 12 2009, 06:17 AM
You can find the story on the 'Back to Africa' website. Fauna and Flora International and Back to Africa and Dvur Kralove are working together on this. As far as I can tell they do not yet have enough money to move the animals - it is a very expensive opperation, and dangerous.

We suggested the money could be better spent on artificial insemination of Southern females.

However we do realise that a natural setting is probably the best option for them to breed naturaly. And we do need pure Northerns to be born in order to save the mtDNA component.

Artificial insemination into Southerns would only ensure the survival of the male lines.

The only other option is cloning which has been done with other endangered animals. But it seems people would rather they become extinct than use this option for 'ethical reasons'. Also cloning is very expensive.

The diff between Southern and Northern DNA is about 4% (Guerin, 1980). So subspecific Hybrids would have 98% Northern DNA. If by chance some pure Northerns were born - then they could be mated with the subspecific hybrids to produce animals with 99% Northen DNA (range 98% - 100%).

There are over 17 400 Southern White Rhinos (IUCN, 2008). So even one hundred Southern females being inseminated with Northern sperm would not make a significant impact on the Survival of the Southern subspecies. Infact the Southerns are descended from a founder group of perhaps only 30 individuals - so the diversity in Northern DNA could be crucial to the long term survival of the White Rhino as a species.

Furthermore any remains of Northern White Rhinos found in the Wild or from deceased specimens in zoos should be preserved - DNA can be extracted from these long dead bones as a rcord of the DNA component of the Northern White Rhino for future reference. (Even 40 000 year old Neanderthal bones still have DNA in them!)

I have not given up hope for the Northern White Rhino.

Posted by: rhinocap Dec 13 2009, 01:58 PM
Short note:
The northern white rhino in Zoo Dvur Kralove (2.2) are due for a planned shipment to Kenya on December 19. An old 0.1 will remain for animal welfare reasons.

Posted by: irek Dec 16 2009, 07:02 AM
Here's Irek. I've just back from Dvur Kralove. Yes- 4 northern white rhinos will be sent to Ol Pejeta in Kenia this Saturday (males: Sudan, Suni and females: Najin, Fatu). In Dvur will stay female Nesari- she's too weak, to old for transport and female Nabire- she isn't able to be pregnant (but she produce egg cells what IZW will try to use in the future).
Rhinos are trained to go into the crates. Front horns were cut.

Posted by: Tom Dec 19 2009, 02:28 PM
Wow that's terrific news (I hope). I hope all animals will enjoy their space and protection in their warm homecountry. Maybe, just maybe, it will trigger breeding. I hope tranportation goes well.

Please keep us posted if there's any news about the translocation.

Thank you!

Posted by: irek Dec 20 2009, 10:36 PM
Here's some photos of northern whites a few days before their transport.
Right now I can write that all 4 rhinos are in Ol Pejeta.
english version:

Posted by: irek Dec 20 2009, 10:44 PM
some more photos from Kenia:

Posted by: rhinocap Dec 21 2009, 09:06 AM
There are reports of some white rhinos left in Sudan.
Before any cross-breeding with the southern whites, they should try to convince Sudanese authorities to relinquish any whites found and capture them for the last ditch rescue attempt at Ol Pejeta.

I have no qualms with cross-breeding as a last ditch means, however I do feel more comfortable with any attempts to have genetic materials from now dead northern white rhinos preserved in the SD Zoo and IZW gene banks used for

The technology for AI in white rhino is now sufficiently proficient to apply it to cycling wild southern white rhino cows to have fertilised northern white semen/ovae introduced into the reproductive tracts of southern whites .... thus preserving the ssp. integrity (conventional theory is that southern and northern whites differ at 4% of their genetic material).

Posted by: Kees Dec 22 2009, 09:15 AM
The 4 northern whites from Dvur Kralove have arrived safely in Ol Pejeta, Kenya.
FFI has provided a press release.

Posted by: Patna Jan 4 2010, 12:56 PM
QUOTE (rhinocap @ Dec 21 2009, 09:06 AM)
There are reports of some white rhinos left in Sudan.
Before any cross-breeding with the southern whites, they should try to convince Sudanese authorities to relinquish any whites found and capture them for the last ditch rescue attempt at Ol Pejeta.

Does anyone have any more news regarding these White Rhino found in Sudan. I have heard that there is a total of 3 animals?

Posted by: rhinocap Jan 5 2010, 04:13 AM

The rhinos have been sighted visually by Russian pilots overflying southern Sudan. I understand that efforts are to be made to document scientifically on the ground. Whom or how from the FFI-Ol Pejeta team will do this or whether it is in tandem with WCS-southern Sudan programme I could not tell you at this stage.

I will be in Ol Pejeta myself next July so will hopefully get an on the ground up-to-date briefing on breeding outlook and the newly found whites in southern Sudan by then ....

Posted by: Rhinodude Jan 6 2010, 07:30 AM
Maybe there could be more Northerns left there??.

Maybe bringing in some trackers from oz could be of help every animal is so important now