When Sudan, the last surviving northern white male rhino, died in 2018, the extinction of the subspecies seemed certain. While two of his female relatives, Najin and Fatun, still survive, neither can carry a pregnancy to term.
But there is hope for the northern whites yet. Scientists who collected semen and eggs from the last living members of the subspecies hope to implant embryos into a female southern white rhino as part of a repopulation programme. If the project is successful, it will change the fate of endangered species around the world. But the plan has raised challenging questions around the ethics of de-extinction.
All of this and more is explored in The Lost Rhino, a free art installation conceived by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg that explores extinction, conservation and advanced new reproductive and genetic technologies at the Natural History Museum. You’ll come face to face with a digitally recreated, life-size northern white rhino, prompting you to question the paradox of our preoccupation with creating new life forms, while neglecting existing ones. This is art at its most urgent. Go before it’s too late!