Giraffe calf receiving veterinary care

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and Seneca Park Zoo announced on Wednesday that the Masai giraffe calf born earlier this week is a male and is receiving veterinary care for a leg tendon issue and umbilical hernia.

With the assistance of animal care staff, Zoo Veterinarian Chris McKinney placed a splint on the calf’s leg due to laxity in the tendons of his left front fetlock, causing the joint to bend outward and forward. According to Dr. McKinney, the joint should gain strength over the next few days so the splint can be removed.

“The laxity is something that he was born with, and is also seen in horses and cattle,” said Dr. Chris McKinney. “We placed a splint on the leg, which is kept in place with a bandage and keeps the joint in the proper position to provide support while he gains more strength in the leg.”

The giraffe calf was also found to have an umbilical hernia, which is a congenital abnormality.

“Umbilical hernias occur when the muscle of the body wall does not close fully where the umbilical cord enters the body,” said Dr. McKinney. “This is not painful and at this time is causing him no harm but can worsen as he grows. Once he has had more time to nurse and bond with mom, we will plan to surgically close the hernia to ensure he continues to be healthy. Despite the leg issue and hernia, the calf is otherwise healthy,” said County Executive Adam Bello. “He is nursing and has integrated well with the rest of the giraffe herd. But, we do know that baby giraffes have high mortality rates and the first few days and weeks are critical to the success of the birth. Zoo staff will continue monitoring baby and mom 24/7 to watch out for any unforeseen challenges.”

The Seneca Zoo’s Animals of the Savanna will remain closed past the rhino overlook until at least Friday so that the giraffes are not disturbed. Tram service is temporarily suspended, as giraffes are feeding.