Though Panda diplomacy might be over and the Pandas headed back home to China, there still a wide array of exotic animals available to look at in American zoos, including numerous species from the African savannah. Among those is a 6-year-old Masai giraffe named Kipenzi.
Kipenzi lives at the Seneca Park Zoo in New York, where she was recently diagnosed with cancer. But, though that is sad for all those who have grown to love seeing her, it’s not entirely without a silver lining, as the zoo found out that Kipenzi is pregnant while preparing her for treatment.
The Seneca Park Zoo, announced the news about Kipenzi’s pregnancy and cancer treatment in a statement, quoting some of the top people at the zoo and describing both her health as she fights the cancer and how the pregnancy was discovered.
Beginning, the statement noted, “This past August, fans and friends of Seneca Park Zoo were saddened to learn the news that Kipenzi, one of the Zoo’s female Masai giraffe, has a squamous cell carcinoma growth on her jaw.”
Continuing, the statement then quoted the Zoo’s superintendent, Steve Lacy, as saying that the tumor is slowly growing but that right now she can eat normally. “Guests to the Animals of the Savanna habitats are now noticing the change in the shape of Kipenzi’s facial structure. She is eating well, behaving normally, and allowing Animal Care teams to treat the area,” he said.
The statement also quoted Seneca Park Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Chris McKinney as noting “that animal care and animal health teams have been applying a new antitumor treatment topically, in hopes of slowing tumor growth.”
Speaking on that, Dr. McKinney described how the medication works, saying, “The medication stimulates the giraffe’s own immune system to attack the tumor. This is the first use of this medication in a giraffe, though it has proven to be very safe for use in multiple species.”
Dr. McKinney then noted the good news about Kipenzi’s pregnancy, saying, “In working closely with Kipenzi to train her for medical procedures, we have been able to take ultrasounds, as we had some evidence she might be pregnant. We can also now confirm and share that Kipenzi is pregnant. While exact due dates are difficult to predict, we expect a calf this winter. Having said that, giraffe births are always high risk, and with Kipenzi’s medical conditions, we are extremely guarded in projecting an outcome.”
Continuing, the statement next noted that the other female giraffe is pregnant as well, saying, “The Zoo’s other female Masai giraffe is also pregnant, as announced on Labor Day. The Zoo’s Animal Health and Animal Care teams continue to monitor Iggy for signs of labor. Iggy is now in her delivery window.“
Concluding the giraffe news, it noted, “The Zoo also announced that Olmsted, the Zoo’s first Masai giraffe calf born at Seneca Park Zoo, will be staying at Seneca Park Zoo, upon recommendation from the Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.”
Featured image credit: By Mzq9821 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80950126
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