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Beagle trained to sniff out polar bear pregnancies at Ohio zoo
Forget the pregnancy stick. A 2-year-old beagle named Elvis underwent a year's worth of special training to sniff out pregnancies among the threatened polar species.
The dog's ability is a helpful tool for zoos that have a tough time confirming if the animals are pregnant, The Associated Press reported. Typically, once females are identified as pregnant, they're separated from the males and given extra coverings and video oversight. Staff then cover the bear's movements 24 hours a day, staying alert for births, AP reported.
But the bear's size makes confirming the pregnancy a risky task. So going the dog-sniffing route could help considerably, zoo officials say.
"It's always nice to know in advance," said Randi Meyerson with the Toledo Zoo, in the AP report. On top of that, the idea is a good example of "thinking outside the box" and coming up with a non-invasive and simple solution.
The way it works: Elvis smells the bears' fecal matter for signs of pregnancy, AP said.
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About the Author
Cheryl Chumley is a continuous news writer for The Washington Times. Previously, she was part of the start-up team for The Washington Times’ digital aggregation product, Times247. She’s also a 2008-2009 Robert Novak journalism fellow with The Phillips Foundation. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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