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Because the 6-month-old animals are being raised by their mothers and not hand-reared by zookeepers, staffers would have had to put them under anesthesia to examine their genitals and make an official determination.
The zoo, meanwhile, was seeking a non-invasive way to determine the sexes of its baby bears.Scientists are trying to perfect a new, more accurate DNA test for bears and benefited from the Columbus Zoo's controlled samples from a known family of animals.The reference data illustrate how genetic patterns change in a population over time.The lab's scientists analyze evidence during investigations of violations of federal wildlife protection laws, including poaching, illegal trading of animals, theft of rare plants and creating products from endangered species.
For example, the lab could use DNA to identify a decaying carcass as a protected animal or confirm that a business is selling items made with bald eagle feathers or elephant ivory.
An orphaned polar bear cub found wandering around the town of Churchill in eastern Canada without its mother has found a new home at a conservation centre.