Officials at a zoo in upstate New York have announced that a beloved giraffe has developed a cancerous tumor that continues to spread slowly.
In a press release Friday, the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester updated the public that Kipenzi, a Masai giraffe, has a squamous cell carcinoma growth on her jaw that has gradually changed the shape of her facial structure.
Dr. Chris McKinney, a veterinarian at Seneca Park, said zoo officials have been using a new treatment with Kipenzi, making her the first giraffe to try the medicine that is supposed to slow the growth of the tumor.
“The medication stimulates the giraffe’s own immune system to attack the tumor,” McKinney said, adding that the medication has been helpful with other animals.
During Kipenzi’s medical treatments, zoo officials also discovered that she was pregnant and expect a calf this winter.
“Giraffe births are always high risk,” McKinney noted, “and with Kipenzi’s medical conditions, we are extremely guarded in projecting an outcome.”
Despite Kipenzi’s tumor, Seneca Park Superintendent Steve Lacy said the giraffe continues to behave normally, eat well, and cooperate with medical officials during treatments.
The Seneca Park Zoo did not immediately return The Daily Beast’s request for comment Saturday.