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Urine Collection and Analysis

Nikki gets a bath every morning to keep her fresh & clean.   During this time, keepers are usually able to collect her urine sample.

Collecting urine is important to keep track of the health of the pregnancy.  The samples help us monitor hormone levels without having to draw blood.  Rhino’s are big wimps when it comes to little needles, so non-invasive testing is always the better option for them.

Good news again today from Dr. Stoops – this morning’s test indicates that Nikki is still producing high levels of progesterone, and that comes from the placenta & the baby.  Everything looks great!  Early in the pregnancy, we did hormone testing every week.  Now it’s about twice a month.

Nikki's hormone levels are where they should be.

September 3, 2010   No Comments

What a “Cool” Rhino Baby

While we don’t provide the daily husbandry and care for the father of Nikki’s calf on Cincinnati Zoo grounds, because he lives at the Bronx Zoo, we do care for his contribution (frozen sperm).  Here is a picture of the Indian rhino sperm bank after one of our CREW team members tops it off with liquid nitrogen.

The “bank” is shorthand for a set of insulated tanks (eg. high quality thermoses).  We top off all the tanks in CREW’s CryoBioBank every Friday to ensure they are maintained at minus 320°F.  While we don’t have male Indian rhinos at the Cincinnati Zoo, we have the genetic potential (sperm) of the most valuable males cryopreseved for use in artificial insemination procedures.  You can imagine just how hard it would be to ship a male Indian rhino around, especially one that lives in another state or another country.

August 30, 2010   No Comments

Nikki’s Having a Baby!

Indian rhinos are pregnant for 16 months or 462-491 days.  Today, Nikki is at day 428 of gestation.  Less than 50 days to go!  I’m Dr.  Monica Stoops, the scientist at CREW who worked with our rhino keepers and Nikki to help her become an expectant rhino mom.

Just like human females, sometimes our zoo animals need help to have a baby and CREW scientists are world leaders in helping endangered species reproduce.  Nikki has progressed wonderfully throughout her pregnancy and it has been exciting to see the growth (via ultrasound) of this very special rhino baby.   Based on an ultrasound exam conducted on day 72 of gestation, we were able to determine if Nikki ‘s calf was a boy or a girl.

Nikki's Ultrasound - Day 90

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Boy or Girl, it is the cutest Indian rhino baby we have ever seen!

August 26, 2010   1 Comment