World's first rhino conceived by artificial insemination to have brother or sister

The first rhino which gave birth after artificial insemination is pregnant again.

Officials at the Budapest Zoo confirmed Monday that Lulu, Layla's mother, is pregnant and due to give birth in late 2008 to another rhino calf, also conceived by artificial insemination.

Layla's father is Easy Boy, a rhino from the Budapest Zoo, but for the second pregnancy zoo workers used sperm from Simba, a rhino from Britain's Colchester Zoo.

Marking another first in the process, Simba's sperm was kept frozen at minus 196 degrees centigrade (-321 degrees Fahrenheit) for three years before being used, Budapest Zoo spokesman Zoltan Hanga said.

The implant was performed June 14 with experts from Hungary, Germany and Austria taking part, and the pregnancy was confirmed last week by an ultrasound scan.

Layla, born Jan. 23 weighing 58 kilograms (128 pounds), is in good health and now weighs almost 500 kilograms (1.1 tons), Hanga said.

While all of the pachyderms in the current project are Southern White Rhinos, in the future experts hope to use the insemination program with the much rarer Northern White Rhinos - of which only three survive in the wild and eight in zoos.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova