Animal dung can take on many forms and colours, but it is seldom blue. At DierenPark Amersfoort, though, blue dung could be found in the hyena enclosure. The animal keepers weren’t alarmed: they caused it themselves!
It all started when the keepers wanted to examine the excrement of the female hyena. In order to know which of the droppings were hers, they added blue colouring to the male’s feed. The colouring turned his dung blue, making the difference obvious. The testing has to do with hormones, as the keepers would like to know if the female is ovulating. More than a year has gone by without pups from this hyena couple, yet the female is still not pregnant. In November, Luana, the female, underwent laparoscopy. The veterinarian saw nothing unusual and did find ova. There were no traces of actual ovulation, but the hormone test should yield a definitive answer. Data will become available after the several cycles during which the test will be carried out. The problem, in any case, was not the ‘click’ between the two hyenas: they had been seen mating regularly.
NOTE: Unfortunately, a short time after this investigation was begun, the male hyena was found dead in his enclosure. He probably died from blood poisoning after an infection. In time, the zoo hopes to welcome a new male to mate with Luana.