- The Washington Times - Monday, November 4, 2013

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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