Tigons and Ti-tigons

Tigons - Page 1: Description | 2: The Breeding Of Tigons

Zoo breeding of tigons:

Early in the '70s Calcutta Zoo experimented in the area of breeding hybrid big cats.

A female tigon, Rudhrani, was born some time in 1971 and that was followed by Rangini, another female born on March 8th, 1974. Her parentage was that of an Indian tiger and an African lioness. In appearance she was much like a lioness in size and shape, but with a smaller head and jaw. Her coat was brighter and covered in faint stripes.

Rudhrani was then mated with a lion, his name was Debabrata. She subsequently gave birth to seven li-tigons before she died.

About the time Rangini could have been mated, policy on this form of experimentation was beginning to change. Zoo authorities were finally becoming concerned that there was no way of avoiding the sterility issue in males. When the parents of Rudhrani and Rangini died, the opportunity for the zoo to get another tigon was lost, and it was finally accepted that these experiments were leaving the zoo with no gain.

But it was not this alone which halted the breeding. In 1985 the Indian Government released an order forbidding such hybridisation, and after vigorous campaigning by the World Wildlife Fund, Central Zoo authorities also followed this up by placing a ban on these experiments.

The cycle was finally completed when Rangini died some years ago.

Tigons in private facilities:

The Roar Foundation, commonly called Shambala Preserve, also once had a tigon.

Noelle was born at Christmas, 1978. Typical of both tigons and ligers she had a vocabulary of sounds drawn from both species and her coat was covered in light stripes.

Both veterinarians and staff were fooled by the common misnomer that hybrid big cats are always sterile. Consequently, she was placed in with Anton, a male Amur (Siberian) tiger. To everyone's surprise she gave birth on September 16th, 1983 to an extremely rare ti-tigon.

Noelle conversed with her cub using tiger sounds, rather than a combination of tiger and lion and tiger was the only language her cub spoke. He was named Nathaniel and grew to be quite large, comparable to a small liger. As he was three-quarters tiger, in adulthood his stripes were darker than those of his mother and he showed no signs of a mane.

Nathaniel died at only eight or nine years-old after developing widespread inoperable cancer. Noelle suffered from the same affliction and followed soon after. The pair are pictured at the top of this page.

Tigons - Page 1: Description | 2: The Breeding Of Tigons

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Photography With Thanks To The Roar Foundation (Shambala Preserve) (Photo 1)
Chris Link (Photo 2)
All Rights Reserved. Displayed here with permission, for educational, non-profit purposes.