KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — If a dog that sniffs out pregnant polar bears is correct — the Kansas City Zoo isn’t getting a new addition to its exhibit.
The Kansas City Star (http://bit.ly/1hKUvk6 ) reports that a beagle in Shawnee, Kan., is skilled at telling whether a bear is pregnant by taking a whiff of her waste. But the dog, named Elvis, didn’t detect a pregnancy for Kansas City’s female bear, Berlin. She was observed mating this spring with the zoo’s male bear, Nikita, and has been off exhibit in a birthing den while zoo officials kept their fingers crossed.
The Kansas City Zoo was among more than a dozen to submit a stool sample as part of a study being conducted by the Cincinnati zoo. The Cincinnati zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife says Elvis has demonstrated 97 percent accuracy in detecting polar bear pregnancies.
The skill is potentially very useful for zoos because they have no other reliable way to determine whether a polar bear is pregnant except by waiting.
For now, the Kansas City Zoo plans to keep caring for Berlin as though she may be pregnant, just in case.
“Zoo keepers and our professional staff will watch her behaviors, closely monitoring her appetite and her time spent in her den,” the zoo said Thursday in a statement.
Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com