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Captive Rhinos face metabolic disorders despite nutritious food

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Washington: Captive black rhinos in zoos are facing a bizarre situation. The food served to them is good but the rich diet may put them at high risk for two common health problems: inflammation and insulin resistance.

“We are providing good, nutritious, high quality food. We are just learning that providing high quality food in excess can cause problems,” said Pam Dennis, Clinical Assistant Professor of veterinary preventive medicine at the Ohio State University.

Black Rhinos are browsers that eat leaves, branches and parts of trees in the wild. Their zoo diet mainly consists of grass or hay, milled grains and fruits and vegetables.

“We now recognise that obesity in humans leads to increased inflammation and a whole cascade or problems ranging from heart disease to immune dysfunction. This is entering the vocabulary in zoo medicine, that obesity is much more than just a weight issue,” Dennis said.

Across the globe, there are only about 5,000 black rhinos – a drop from an estimated 100,000 in the 1960s.

The study appeared in General and Comparative Endocrinology.

(IANS)

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Scientists Creating Hybrids To Save Rhinos From Extinction

Scientists say they're several steps closer to perfecting a method for saving the northern white rhino from extinction

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A keeper walks with a female northern white rhino as she is let out of her pen to graze at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, Dec. 2, 2014. VOA

Scientists say they’re several steps closer to perfecting a method for saving the northern white rhino from extinction.

Writing in the journal Nature Communications, researchers said Wednesday that they had succeeded in creating embryos using frozen northern white rhino sperm and eggs from a southern white rhino.

Scientists Creating Hybrids To Save Rhinos From Extinction
Scientists Creating Hybrids To Save Rhinos From Extinction. Pixabay

It’s the first time such hybrid embryos have been created, and the scientists from Europe and the United States hope it will provide a pathway to saving the northern white rhino subspecies, of which only two females remain.

Also read: Captive Rhinos face metabolic disorders despite nutritious food

They plan to harvest the females’ egg cells soon and produce “pure” northern white rhinos to be borne by a southern white surrogate in three years. They’re also working on a second method that would see sperm and eggs produced from preserved cells of northern white rhinos. (VOA)

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