Only two survivors are left in the world, and both are female and can’t carry calves.

The last male, named Sudan, died at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya last year, making scientists the majestic species’ last chance.

Using eggs harvested from the females and frozen sperm from deceased males, scientists in the northern Italian province of Cremona have managed to create two viable embryos.

Najin, 30, and her daughter Fatu, 19, are the last northern white rhinos, and live under 24-hour armed guard.

Fatu has degenerative lesions in her uterus and Najin has weak hind legs that could cause complications if she became pregnant.

In August, they underwent a highly risky procedure carried out by a team of international vets, which saw them anaesthetised for almost two hours, and their eggs extracted using techniques that have taken years of research and development.

At the Italian biotech laboratory Avantea, those eggs were then fertilised with sperm from males Suni and Saut - though only two of Fatu’s eggs developed into viable embryos.

They have now been stored in liquid nitrogen to be transferred into a surrogate mother in the near future.

Rhinos have few predators in the wild due to their size but have been devastated by poaching for their horns, used in traditional Chinese medicine.

The northern white rhino once roamed Uganda, the Central African Republic, Sudan and Chad.

It is hoped a revived population - which could take up to 70 years - could eventually be reintroduced into secure habitats in these areas.