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Beagle's Polar Bear Pregnancy Predictions for Zoos
CINCINNATI (AP) - A specially trained beagle's smell tests for polar bear pregnancies predict there will be few new cubs for U.S. zoos this year.
Animal conservation scientists at the Cincinnati Zoo worked with a dog trainer in Shawnee, Kan., to devise the test being tried out this year. Zoos around the country provided fecal samples that the 2-year-old dog named Elvis had been trained to sniff for proteins scientists say are found only from pregnant polar bears.
Cincinnati Zoo scientist Erin Curry says that with nearly all samples from 14 zoos checked, the Elvis test indicates this year's cub class will be similar to last year's. Only three cubs were born in U.S. zoos. She declined to provide the results for other zoos, but says the one for Cincinnati's "Berit" was negative.
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