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Cincinnati Zoo using beagle to detect bear pregnancies


CINCINNATI (AP) — Zoos around the country will find out whether the nose of a beagle named Elvis can let them know when their polar bears are pregnant.

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Elvis, a 2-year-old beagle, checks out a camera lens while sniffing polar bear protein samples at Iron Heart Performance Dog Center in Shawnee, Kan., Monday, Oct. 28, 2013. Elvis is demonstrating 97% accuracy in positive identification of samples from pregnant females. The 2-year-old has been specially trained for a year by a Kansas handler who has taught dogs to sniff out everything from explosives to bed bugs. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

The 2-year-old canine has been specially trained for a year by a Kansas handler who's taught dogs to sniff out everything from explosives to bed bugs. A Cincinnati Zoo animal conservation scientist had the idea after reading about studies on using dogs to detect cancer.

Confirming pregnancies of the threatened species has been difficult, and zoo officials say knowing can help them make sure they and the mama bears are ready for birthing and raising cubs.

Elvis has been checking out fecal samples of bears from 14 zoos.

Soon, the zoos will be informed whether Elvis predicts they'll be hearing the pitter-patter of little paws.


Rhino preservation subject of Ohio speech, benefit

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This Oct. 3, 2013 photo provided by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium shows a female Indian rhino calf and it's mother at The Wilds preserve in Cumberland, Ohio. The endangered rhino, also called the Greater One-horned Rhinoceros, has been making a comeback with the help of conservation efforts, with more than 3,300 estimated globally. (AP Photo/Columbus Zoo and Aquarium)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Protecting the world's rhino population will be the focus of a Columbus Zoo event Nov. 14.

International Rhino Foundation program officer Bill Konstant is the featured speaker for the lecture at the Ohio State University Fawcett Center. The U.S.-based organization is dedicated to survival of the world's five remaining rhino species.

The presentation is titled "Year of the Rhino — What's Next?"

The rhinoceros population has been under assault from poaching, forest loss and habitat development in Asia and Africa. There are as few as 100 Sumatran rhinos left, and even fewer Javan rhinos.

Proceeds will benefit the foundation's efforts, with a reception and silent auction after the presentation.



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