Beginning September 15, zoo keepers started to decrease the daily dose of a hormone supplement Nikki has received throughout her pregnancy. As a precaution, Dr. Stoops prescribed Nikki a progesterone supplement, called Regumate, when she verified Nikki’s pregnancy back in August 2009. From day 18 of pregnancy until day 449, Nikki has been given a full rhino dose of progesterone supplement (34ml). However, in preparation for Nikki’s impending birth, Dr. Stoops prescribed a daily dosage decline of 2ml per day.
The hormone supplement is a liquid, so we dispense it into slices of bread and feed it to Nikki. She seems to enjoy it! We make sure Nikki gets her daily dose of hormone prior to going out on exhibit each day.
By October 1, which will be day 465 of gestation, Nikki will no longer be receiving any hormone supplement. We know from urinary hormone results conducted at our CREW facility that Nikki has been producing high levels of progesterone throughout her pregnancy.
Because the hormone assays CREW utilizes do not measure the form of progesterone that we have been feeding to Nikki, we know that in fact Nikki has been carrying this pregnancy all on her own.