Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Festive-style pregnancy test for Dublin Zoo rhinos

Feeding different-coloured sparkling glitter to two female white rhinos has acted as an impromptu pregnancy test.

To keep a check on the hormone levels of Ashanti and Zanta, authorities at Dublin Zoo - who are hoping to breed the animals - added blue and silver glitter to their feed to tell the faeces apart for analysis.

The novel idea has paid off, as early indications suggest Ashanti may be expecting.

``This is a nice, simple, harmless way of getting the results we need,'' said vet John Bainbridge.

``When the faeces samples are collected with the different colour glitter, it's clear which sample belongs to Ashanti and which sample belongs to Zanta.

``The glitter is a safe, non-toxic method of testing the hormone levels in the rhinos,'' he said.

Dublin Zoo has sent a sample of Ashanti's droppings to a laboratory for testing and expects results early in the New Year.

If it comes back positive it will be big news for the zoo as the last baby white rhino was born in Dublin 14 years ago.

There are currently six white rhinos at the zoo - four females and two males.

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