Thursday, May 26, 2011

Good Dog Suckles Ligers

Ligers are the offspring of male lions and female tigers. They are believed to occur only in captivity, even though lions and tigers have historically had overlapping ranges. They are basically unnatural monsters, far larger than their parents (for strange genetic reasons I will not go into here).

In China's Xixiakou Wildlife Park, a tiger recently gave birth to a litter of liger cubs, of which two survived. After a few days the mother stopped feeding the cubs, perhaps recognising their difference from normal tiger young. This would normally have spelled curtains for the cross-breeds, but an unnamed mother dog has stepped into the breach. Free from judgemental attitudes towards ligers, she is suckling the cubs as though they were her own

Ligers reputedly grow up to enjoy swimming (like tigers) and to like socialising with other big cats (like lions). Ligers display some approximation to tiger stripes. Male ligers have at best rudimentary manes.

Zoos normally keep lions and tigers separate (as much to stop them killing each other as to stop them interbreeding), so the Xixiakou ligers may be indicators of a certain cavalier attitude there to animal welfare.


Wikipedia Ligers

see also

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