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  Hurt rare lion swims to fitness
Updated 14 April 2004, 17.28
Samira swims to fitness
A lion cub, whose leg was badly hurt when her mum accidentally bit it while carrying her, is getting back on her feet thanks to swimming lessons.

The cub, Samira, was born in June at Port Lympne Wildlife Park in Kent and hurt her leg at just four days old.

Keepers rescued her after her mum tried to bury her, thinking she was dead.

But she is now on the road to recovery after a vet said she should try swimming to help re-build her the damaged leg muscles.

Samira the Barbary lion
Samira was rejected by her mum
Swimming to help exercise damaged muscles and tendons is called hydrotherapy.

It has worked to help smaller animals before, like cats.

But Samira the big cat will only be allowed to paddle in her lifejacket for a little while longer because she is now nine months old.

When she is fully grown, she will be two to three times as big, which could get dangerous in the pool.

Samira is one of the few Barbary lions left. They became extinct in the wild in the 1920s.

It's thought she is actually royalty too, descended from Barbary lions which were owned by the King of Morocco.

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Lions 'nearly extinct' in Africa
Injured cat helped by swimming lessons

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