How can you tell if a rhino is pregnant?

Ask them to wee on a stick?

Nope. It’s not quite the same as for humans. We can’t pop to the pharmacy and purchase a pregnancy test!

Luckily, our clever friends at Chester Zoo, who co-ordinate the breeding programme for Eastern black rhino, were on hand to help. So, our assistant zoo manager Lynsey and rhino keeper Jack went on a road trip with a very smelly (and well-sealed) parcel on board. Yep you guessed it, the secret to knowing whether a rhino is pregnant is by analysing it’s poo!

Last Summer we introduced our loved up rhino pair Nkosi and Dakima for the first time. In the wild these black rhinos would live a solitary existence, only meeting when the time is just right. They leave each other messages around reserves, to arrange the best time to meet. And no, we don’t mean a Facebook message, we mean a pile of poop.

“Rhino poo holds a wealth of information and it can tell a male rhino the gender, rough age & availability of a potential partner. The girls don’t make it very easy for him, and if they meet up at just the wrong time he soon gets an ear full; or in this case, a horn in the face! A smaller male can actually be in a lot of danger if he finds himself on the wrong side of an angry, more mature female.” – Jack Gradidge, rhino keeper

During the Summer they were introduced with each other on six occasions, and they appeared to be quite successful.

Dakima and Nkosi our breeding pair of critically endangered black rhino

So, how do you tell if a rhino is pregnant?

The answer to our question laid in three weeks’ worth of samples of Dakima’s poo and a visit to the endocrinology lab at Chester Zoo.

And as you’ll already know if you’re fans of Folly Farm, Dakima is indeed pregnant and expecting her first calf in January 2020.

Read the pregnancy announcement.