ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Kipenzi, a female Masai giraffe at the Seneca Park Zoo, underwent her biopsy procedure Tuesday morning for a growth discovered on her jaw.

The zoo says the procedure went well, and the team was able to remove samples of the growth for testing and take X-rays. They add that as of Tuesday afternoon, Kipenzi was awake and walking and will continue to be monitored closely.

Monroe County first announced Kipenzi’s growth on Friday, saying that it was first seen in late Spring and has continued to grow. The zoo’s staff says that it has affected her ability to eat, which led to her being put on pain medications and antibiotics.

Dr. Chris McKinney, the zoo’s veterinarian, will be leading a team of animal surgeons and vets to perform the biopsy on Kipenzi’s affected tissue. Dr. McKinney said that, if it is a tumor, they will not know right away if it is benign or malignant.

According to the zoo, Kipenzi was anesthetized, which is a high-risk procedure for giraffes. They add that the success rate drops in procedures longer than an hour. Leading up to the procedure, the animal health teams at the zoo have been preparing equipment and medications for the procedure.

“The head must be maintained higher than the level of the heart to maintain appropriate blood
pressure and reduce the risk of regurgitating fluid from the stomach or rumen,” Dr. McKinney said. “Giraffes are ruminants with a stomach very similar to a cow. As a result, there is always a large amount of fluid and gas present in the rumen which can cause problems during anesthesia.”

During the procedure, the Animals of the Savanna barn was closed on to accommodate the teams. The procedure took place in the giraffe barn.

This procedure came months after Parker, a male Masai giraffe at the zoo, was found dead after he was caught in the support structure at the enclosure’s gate.

Kipenzi is one of three Masai giraffes at the Seneca Park Zoo — two others include another female named Iggy and a male giraffe named Olmsted.

Stay with News 8 WROC as we continue to follow this developing story.