Dog Predicts Polar Bear Pregnancy

A 2-year-old beagle indicates a polar bear at SeaWorld San Diego is pregnant

By Christina London
|  Tuesday, Nov 19, 2013  |  Updated 8:05 AM PDT
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18-year-old Szenja should get her sleep while she can. According to a 2-year-old beagle named Elvis, the SeaWorld San Diego polar bear is pregnant.

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A polar bear at SeaWorld San Diego has taken the world’s most unusual pregnancy test—and it’s positive.

According to SeaWorld, a 2-year-old beagle named Elvis may be the "polar bear pregnancy whisperer." Experts hope the dog’s keen sense of smell can determine if a polar bear is pregnant simply by smelling fecal samples.

So far, Elvis has tested 17 polar bears across the U.S. and Canada, including one at SeaWorld San Diego.

SeaWorld says 18-year-old Szenja (pictured above) recently took a breeding trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo. Because conventional polar bear pregnancy tests are inconclusive, SeaWorld called Elvis, along with scientists from the Cincinnati Zoo and a professional dog trainer, for answers.

After taking a sniff, Elvis indicated that Szenja is indeed pregnant.

It seems the nose could be right. SeaWorld says Szenja has been showing signs of pregnancy, including weight gain, picky eating and “nesting” in her den.

So is Szenja pregnant? It will take a while to know for sure. Polar bear pregnancy can last anywhere from 195 to 265 days, including 135 to 205 days of delayed implantation, according to SeaWorld.

Scientists hope this new testing method could help preserve the threatened polar bear species.

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