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Nikki Relaxin?

It was a beautiful Fall day in Cincinnati and Nikki was out walking around her exhibit and eating some of the fallen leaves.  Just like in pregnant humans, Nikki has been walking to help promote a fast and easier labor.  Her ability to exercise is more important than ever, now that it appears that she is feeling the effects of Relaxin hormone.  Relaxin is a hormone that Nikki (and other pregnant animals) produce prior to birth that helps “relax” the pelvis in preparation for the big event.  Each day, Nikki’s keepers and scientists observe how she looks and the effects of Relaxin have recently been noted.  In addition, the ZVO’s have recorded that Nikki is drinking more water, another effect of Relaxin.

A mother and baby watch Nikki. Soon Nikki will have her own bundle of joy!

Knowing that Nikki is getting closer to birth, it is more important than ever that she can continue to do some exercise outside.  When Nikki walks, her hips sway side to side and that helps position the calf correctly.  Because she is due to give birth any day, her keepers watch over her when she is on exhibit.  We Can’t Wait!

Head Keeper Randy Pairan keeps a close eye on Nikki while Zoo Visitors stop by to see her.

October 16, 2010   9 Comments

Day 476 – Official Due Date is Tomorrow!

Nikki’s official due date is tomorrow! She is still enjoying time outside each day, when the weather is nice, but she’s coming in earlier so our Zoo Volunteer Observers (ZVOs) can start their watch at 3pm.  Nikki was used to staying out until 8 or so but seems to like coming in a few hours early and, therefore, getting to eat earlier.

October 12, 2010   11 Comments

Rhino Team & Volunteers on Round-the-Clock Birth Watch

Nikki’s due date is rapidly approaching, so the Zoo’s Volunteer Observers (ZVOs) and the rhino team have started to monitor her 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Over 58 volunteers have given their time to help the rhino team keep an eye on Nikki.  The ZVO watch started on October 1 and will be conducted from 3pm – 7am every day.  ZVOs are stationed in our CREW facility where Nikki is monitored using a state-of-the-art camera system.  The ZVO watch is set to continue for 1 week following the birth of Nikki’s calf to record those important “Rhino Firsts”.

The Cincinnati Zoo Rhino team is very thankful to the ZVOs for all of their hard work and dedication!

October 6, 2010   6 Comments