Saturday, August 23 2014 3:45 PM EDT2014-08-23 19:45:44 GMT
A senior Hamas leader says the group signed a pledge to back any Palestinian bid to join the International Criminal Court. Such a step could expose Israel - as well as Hamas - to war crimes investigations.More >>
Israel bombed an apartment tower in downtown Gaza City on Saturday, collapsing the 12-story building in an unprecedented strike, while Hamas kept up heavy rocket fire that sent more Israelis fleeing border areas close to...More >>
Saturday, August 23 2014 3:35 PM EDT2014-08-23 19:35:39 GMT
Organizers expect up to 5,000 people to attend a march protesting the death of an unarmed black man who died after being placed in a chokehold by a white New York police officer.More >>
Thousands of people expressing grief, anger and hope for a better future marched peacefully through Staten Island on Saturday to protest the chokehold death of an unarmed black man by a white police officer.More >>
Saturday, August 23 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-08-23 19:28:26 GMT
After starting in Kentucky earlier in the month of August, post about "Purge" events have quickly spread across the country. It all started in Louisville, when a picture popped up on social media statingMore >>
The Montgomery Police Department say they have been made aware of the picture that is circulating social media, and are taking the matter very seriously.More >>
Saturday, August 23 2014 2:55 PM EDT2014-08-23 18:55:59 GMT
Iceland's Meteorological Office is reporting a surge in seismic activity at the restless Bardarbunga volcano, but sees no evidence yet of any eruptions.More >>
Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano began erupting Saturday under the ice of Europe's largest glacier, prompting the country to close the airspace over the volcano.More >>
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -
The Cincinnati Zoo is teaming up with a beagle to sniff out pregnancy in an endangered polar bear.
Yes, a beagle.
Two-year-old "Elvis" and scientists at the Cincinnati Zoo's Center for Conservation & Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) have teamed up to determine pregnancy in the bears found in zoos throughout North America.
Traditional methods of pregnancy detection, such as progesterone monitoring and ultrasound examination, are not effective at diagnosing pregnancy in polar bears, so scientists at CREW had to get a little creative.
Elvis began training with a professional dog trainer, Matt Skogen, in January 2013. Scientists hope the beagle's sensitive nose can continue to accurately distinguish a pregnant polar bear from a non-pregnant bear simply by smelling their fecal samples.
"This is the first time sniffer dogs have been used in biomedical research as it relates to any wildlife species, making this project truly one-of-a-kind," said Dr. Erin Curry, a Post-Doctoral Fellow studying polar bear reproduction at CREW.
Elvis is currently about 97% accurate in positively identifying samples from pregnant females, which is nearly as accurate as human pregnancy tests available over-the-counter.
"When I was contacted by Dr. Curry at the Cincinnati Zoo I was honored to have the opportunity to work on such a unique project," said Matt Skogen, Professional Working Dog Trainer, at IronHeart High Performance Working Dogs. "I felt the project was a noble cause and jumped at the opportunity to provide the research and work toward a positive conclusion."
Elvis was presented with 34 samples on October 28, two samples from each of the 17 polar bears that mated this past spring. Included in this sample was the Cincinnati Zoo's "Berit," one of the potentially pregnant polar bears.
Over the next two weeks, Elvis will be testing and double-testing samples to come up with pregnancy predictions. Once the beagle's work is complete, his results will be shared with Dr. Curry and she will begin the process of reaching out to institutions, informing them on whether or not Elvis indicated that their polar bear(s) is pregnant.
The zoos should have a few weeks to further prepare for impending births since the majority of births will happen from Nov. 13 to Dec. 15.