An elderly elephant at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has been diagnosed with cancer and caretakers do not believe it can be removed.
Hanako, a 54-year-old Asian elephant, has cancer in her left front foot.
“We will continue to provide her with a great quality of life for as long as possible,” said John Houck, the zoo’s deputy director.
Hanako has already lived longer than the average female Asian elephant, who has a median life expectancy of 47.
Veterinarians are working with an oncologist to create a treatment plan that will keep the cancer from spreading.
The cancer cannot be removed because of its location, size and invasion of surrounding tissue, said Karen Wolf, head veterinarian.
Hanako is still eating her normal diet of mulched Timothy hay and orchard grass, along with fruits and vegetables.
She arrived in Tacoma in 1997 and lives with another elephant, 53-year-old Suki.