This baby liliger cub may be the only one in existence.
You may have heard of a liger—the lion-tiger hybrid is, after all, Napoleon Dynamite’s favorite animal—but now a Russian zoo has released photos of a so-called “liliger” named Kiara, the offspring of a liger mother and a lion father.
The cub, born last week at Novosibirsk Zoo, may be the only liliger in existence. But charming as the cuddly cub appears, ligers, liligers, and other mix-and-match felines raise serious concerns for advocates of big-cat conservation.Ligers are the result of a male lion mating with a female tiger. Craig Packer, director of the Lion Research Center at the University of Minnesota, said he hasn’t heard of a liliger before but is “not surprised” that it exists.All ligers are born in captivity, Packer said, because this animal simply does not exist in the natural world. Not only are wild lion and tiger populations separated by geography, there are certain behavior mechanisms in place that would prevent the two species from mating.