Is Cranbeary, the polar bear at the Denver Zoo pregnant? Well, maybe! Could a dog have the answer to that question? Well, yes, a beagle, named Elvis, might be able to help determine if a polar bear is pregnant!
Denver Zoo hopes that 11-year-old polar bear, Cranbeary may be expecting.
Worldwide, traditional methods of pregnancy detection, such as progesterone monitoring and ultrasound examination, are not effective at diagnosing pregnancy in polar bears. So scientists at Cincinnati Zoo's Center for Conservation & Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) have gotten creative. In collaboration with professional dog trainer, Matt Skogen, owner of Iron Heart High Performance Working Dogs and a beagle named Elvis, CREW is trying to determine if the sensitive noses of canines can distinguish a pregnant polar bear from a non-pregnant bear simply by smelling fecal samples.
Photo Credit: Cincinnati Zoo, Elvis
Over the next two weeks, Elvis will be testing and double-testing samples to come up with predictions for this cubbing season.