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.
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This is pretty much what SeaWorld does by introducing Argentinian transient blood to their captive Icelandic orca stock. There is no conservational purpose at all.