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White Rhinoceros

Zoo Diet Linked to Dip in Baby Rhino Births

Zoos may be welcoming fewer baby rhinos into the world in the future: Their reproductive rates are dropping drastically because of medical problems. New research suggests their zoo diet could be playing a role in the drop in babies and increase in disease.The zoo diet contains relatively high levels of estrogenlike compounds from plants (called phytoestrogens), which might be contributing to reproductive failure in the females, according to the new study published in the April issue of the journal Endocrinology."Understanding why the captive white rhinoceros population has been dwindling for decades is an important part of protecting the future of this species," study researcher Christopher Tubbs, a scientist with the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, said in a statement. "Our work is the first step toward determining if phytoestrogens are involved in this phenomenon and whether we need to reevaluate captive white rhino diets."Rhino reproductionOther theories have been...

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