Lioness Gives Birth To Mixed Lion-Tiger Cubs
That’s right, “ligers” (or “tigons” if you prefer) now officially exist outside the realm of Napoleon Dynamite. A lioness in China officially made history when she gave birth to a pair of lion-tiger hybrid cubs in a litter along with one purebred lion, according to the Associated Press.
The video clip above from the Huffington Post was shot in Changzhou, China, and it includes footage of the cubs playing and eating. There are also shots of the mother lioness walking alongside a male tiger who is presumed to be the father.
So, how is it possible for “ligers” and “tigons” to exist? PBS explains that this hybrid species can be produced through inter-species breeding.
“Although they rarely meet in the wild, lions and tigers are still so closely related that they are able to interbreed, and in captivity they occasionally do. But successful interbreeding is the key, and the hybrid offspring are usually sterile and short-lived.”
As rare and spectacular as this hybrid species is, it may not be known just how rare both regular lions and tigers are becoming. With populations shrinking, Asian lions have become an endangered species, while all sub-species of tigers are considered critically endangered.
Source: Huffington Post