UPDATE: Potter Park Zoo rhino pregnancy

Local News

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – It can be difficult to determine whether a female black rhino is pregnant, according to the Potter Park Zoo.

Pregnant black rhinos develop subtle physical changes that occur very late in the pregnancy.

The Potter Park Zoo in partnership with the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine confirmed Doppsee’s pregnancy through multiple ultrasound evaluations.

A rhino uterus is larger and longer than a female horses which limits imaging of the uterus after more than two to three months of pregnancy.

The challenge for doctors and staff is that Doppsee must voluntarily enter a specially designed chute to keep both her and the staff safe while doing medical procedures.

The chute allows her to leave and walk out into her enclosure at any time if she becomes tired or unwilling to continue. During the procedures she is fed favorite treats to reward her patience.

Safety is important during a rhino ultrasound because the animal is so strong that any unintentional moves she makes could damage the examiner’s arm.

Therefore a successful ultrasound varies with the quality of the machine, the skill of the veterinarian and having a cooperative rhino for a patient.

Additionally, the Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife located at the Cincinnati Zoo was able to measure progesterone which is a reliable method beginning at three months post-breeding.

Ideally, using information using multiple methods increases the chances of determining whether or not she is pregnant.

Black rhinos are critically endangered species.

There are fewer than 125 individual black rhinos being managed by the Species Survival Plan.

All five rhino species are in serious danger in the wild as a result of poaching.

Since the poaching crisis began in 2008, it is now responsible for more than 1,000 rhino deaths each year.

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