CINCINNATI - Zoos around the country will find out whether the nose of a beagle named Elvis can let them know when their polar bears are pregnant.
The 2-year-old has been specially trained for a year by a Kansas handler who has taught dogs to sniff out everything from explosives to bed bugs. A Cincinnati Zoo animal conservation scientist had the idea after reading about studies on using dogs to detect cancer.
Confirming pregnancies of the threatened species has been difficult, and zoo officials say knowing can help them make sure they and the mama bears are ready for birthing and raising cubs.
Elvis has been working through fecal samples of bears from 14 zoos.
Soon, the zoos will be informed whether Elvis predicts they'll be hearing the pitter-patter of little paws.