Giraffe with cancerous growth is pregnant, Seneca Park Zoo confirms

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Kipenzi, the giraffe at the Seneca Park Zoo who is being treated for a cancerous growth on her jaw, is pregnant according to a zoo veterinarian.

Veterinarian Dr. Chris McKinney says that, while training the Masai giraffe for medical procedures, the veterinary team took ultrasounds and were eventually able to confirm that she 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,” McKinney said.

The zoo also shared an update on Kipenzi’s treatment for her squamous cell carcinoma growth. In August, a veterinary team took a biopsy and x-ray of the life-threatening growth to learn how to treat it. At one point, the growth was so large that it impacted her ability to eat. On Friday, the zoo said that Kipenzi is eating well, behaving normally, and allowing animal care teams to treat the growth.

The zoo says the tumor continues to grow slowly but veterinarians have applied a new topical anti-tumor treatment.

“The medication stimulates the giraffe’s own immune system to attack the tumor,” McKinney said. “This is the first use of this medication in a giraffe, though it has proven to be very safe for use in multiple species.”

Seneca Park Zoo also announced that Iggy, another Masai giraffe, is in her window for giving birth. The zoo announced on Labor Day that she is pregnant and animal care teams are continuing to monitor her for signs of labor.