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Doctors pull out stops for injured lioness

August 4, 1997
Web posted at: 4:16 a.m. EDT (0816 GMT)

From Correspondent Chris Riker

PRETORIA, South Africa (CNN) -- A predator stalking its prey is still a common sight in Kenya and a few other places across the African continent.

But one lioness' attempt to snag a zebra dinner landed her in an extraordinary situation. This majestic beast ended up in a Pretoria hospital with a broken leg.

The first thing the doctors did was give the wild lioness a human name for all the necessary paperwork: Clara.

Then doctors got down to business. They performed what was apparently a medical first -- five hours of surgery normally reserved for patients of the human kind.

"The plan of action is to insert a steel pin into the humerus to mend the broken leg and then see what happens from there - - successful or not," said one of the doctors..

Clara became an instant hit with tourists, who peered through windows for a glimpse at the unconscious beast.

The doctors were also besotted with their star patient; they lined up for photos and videos with the Queen of the Jungle.

Clara is due for six weeks of rest and relaxation while her leg mends. Then, if she's lucky, she just might get another shot at that zebra.

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