Ligers - Page 1:
Description | 2:
The Breeding Of Ligers | 3&4:
No fertile male ligers have yet been found and it is assumed all are sterile. This is not the case with females and a 15-year-old ligeress at Munich Zoo produced a li-liger after mating with a lion.
Various unofficial names are applied to the offspring of the tiger and lion, depending upon the parentage:
Captive breeding of ligers:
Ligers still occur in captive facilities almost entirely by accident. This is a result of the close conditions of captivity and usually human error.
One reputable facility kept a few female tigers in a large exercise enclosure with a young lion. As the lion was a juvenile, and of a different species, it simply never occurred to anyone that offspring would result -- until the births three months later.
Ligers are also occasionally bred for the 'pet' market and the future of these animals when in inexperienced hands tends to be grim.
Patrick, shown above, was a rescue liger previously kept in an area so small the muscles in his hindquarters wasted away through lack of exercise.
This is the situation many big cats are thrust into when in private ownership. Few of these stories will have happy endings. Patrick is one of the fortunate few and was saved through the generosity of The Roar Foundation. He now lives a life of ease and gets great enjoyment from spraying unwary visitors.
Ligers in the wild:
It is unlikely a mating of this type would ever occur in the wild, for a number of reasons.
Firstly, lion and tiger habitats do not meet, though you'll often hear claims that they overlap in one area of the world, this being the Gir National Park and Lion Sanctuary in Bangladesh. The truth is tigers are not found within 100 miles of Gir Forest.
Within the sanctuary itself is the only lion subspecies found outside of Africa. This is the very rare Asiatic lion (only a few hundred remain and they face extinction). The lion rules in Gir Forest and no tigers are found there. Tigers are not found in Africa, and are restricted to Asia.
Though it is conceivable that a tiger may cross into lion territory, both species are so rare that it is highly unlikely the two would ever meet. On top of this, the Gir Forest is surrounded by farming and agriculture. The lions within the sanctuary are effectively captive in the wild and tigers do not like to cross large stretches of open ground.
What would happen if the two species did meet? The very solitary tiger would be little inclined to join in with the more social pride of lions. Apart from periods of mating, tigers even go out of their way to avoid their own species.
Ligers in history:
All that is not to say it's impossible a wild liger has never occurred.
Down through history, and very occasionally, animals fitting the description of ligers have been sighted in the forests of India and these rumours have persisted for over 1,000 years. Despite this, a liger has never been officially documented in the wild and unless that happens they will remain a creature of myth.
With Thanks To Sierra