If a dog can detect whether you’re pregnant or not, will you keep it?
It was around in 2013 when zoos around the US discovered new ways of detecting if a polar bear is pregnant. Meet Elvis, a 2-year old beagle who went through a year of training, so he can detect proteins that are normally found in the stool of impregnated polar bears. And you know what’s surprising? The accuracy level of Dr. Elvis Beagle is 97%!
Matt Skogen, the head of Ironheart High-Performance Working Dogs in Shawnee, Kansas is also skeptic that a dog can detect a bear if it is pregnant. No one would believe if they heard it first. However, when Erin Curry from Cincinnati Zoo Center proposed the idea, he was really intrigued. His exact words were, “We didn’t even know if this was possible.”
Polar bears are slowly getting endangered that is why they need to check whether a bear is pregnant or not, so they can prepare it for special care. Since they are threatened species, they need to be separated from males and needs to be in an isolated den with a CCTV that is up for 24-hours.
It is not easy to train dogs for this specific project but what Skogen did was, he collected stool samples of bears that had already delivered cute little babies, and also from the female polar bears who were not pregnant. Elvis stands out among the other dogs who took the test.
Skogen commented that Elvis was very systematic and is really thinking the whole duration of the training. He’s doing good in the lab but the question is, will he be able to identify other samples from different zoos across the country? Most especially if the samples are fresh?
Curry watched Elvis check the samples and work on 22 female polar bears, however, only a few of them is really expecting. Still, Elvis’ ability is a great tool for every zoo owners to use in order for them to foresee pregnancies of the endangered species.
Source: The Dog Files