Liger Facts

Liger Facts

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Where do Ligers Come From?

Irresponsible breeders is the short answer.

A liger is the result of breeding a male lion to a tigress. A tigon is the result of breeding a male tiger to a lioness. Since lions and tigers do not exist in the same areas, this is not something that happens in the wild. It is done in captivity by disreputable carnies to produce a freak that ignorant people will pay to see. These cats suffer from many birth defects and usually die young. Because ligers are usually larger than either parent, it also puts the tigress at great risk in carrying the young and may require C-section deliveries or kill her in the process. When the public quits paying to see these unfortunate creatures, the evil people responsible for breeding them will stop this inhumane practice.

You can stop the abuse. Don’t support places, like T.I.G.E.R.S. and Jungle Island, that breed ligers. Bhagavan Antle who calls himself Doc Antle, the person you will most often see promoting this shameful practice, has gone to great lengths to stop us and the brave young girl who created the video at the bottom of the page, from letting you know the truth. Visit her YouTube site HERE and let her know you appreciate what she is doing to prevent the future breeding of ligers and tigons.

When you see ligers in the news or on TV, write the station and let the reporters know the truth about hybrids. You can send 5 letters at once to the media of your choice through our online email system at


What does a liger look like?


Actually they aren’t this dramatic.  See real photos of ligers below.

Find out more about Big Cat Rescue’s liger and tiger rescue.

Read about the conviction of those involved in canned hunts in the US. They excuse their behavior by making the case that ligers and tigons are not protected by the Endangered Species Act. Now you know why so many of these sleazy back yard breeders are trying to produce more of them.




Video by a Big Cat AdvoCat. Visit her site:

Liger PhotoThe following story attempts to make it sound like there could be some reason to breed lions and tigers for public amusement, but anyone who cares about animals knows that this is a despicable thing to do because the cats have to spend their lives in deprivation and confinement and are genetically so unhealthy that they usually die young. The ONLY reason anyone breeds ligers is to create a freak that simple minded people will pay to see.


Ligers Make a “Dynamite” Leap Into the Limelight


by: Maryann Mott August 5, 2005

It’s half lion, half tiger, and completely real. Now thanks to a cameo in the 2004 cult movie Napoleon Dynamite, the liger has leaped into the limelight, prompting fans to ask, What are they really like?

The faintly striped, shaggy-maned creatures are the offspring of male lions and female tigers, which gives them the ability to both roar like lions and chuff like tigers-a supposedly affectionate sound that falls somewhere between a purr and a raspberry.

Weighing in at about a thousand pounds (450 kilograms) each, they typically devour 50 pounds (23 kilograms) of raw meat in a meal.

“For the most part they’re really laid back,” said Jason Hutcherson, vice president of Wild Animal Safari in Pine Mountain , Georgia . “They like to swim and play in the water.”

The drive-through wildlife park is believed to have the country’s largest concentration of ligers, housing ten of the massive cats.

Since 1999 the park has bred its male lion and female tiger many times, producing about 24 cubs.

Not all of them have been healthy, though.

LIger Picture“We’ve had 3 out of 24 that, for all practical purposes, were normal but developed as they grew older some kind of neurological disorder,” Hutcherson said.

Autopsies didn’t reveal what caused the cubs to develop “head shakes,” so park staff “chalked it up to a genetic defect,” Hutcherson said.

Accredited zoos frown on the practice of mixing two different species and have never bred ligers, says Jane Ballentine, a spokesperson for the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, based in Silver Spring , Maryland.

“Keeping the two species separate has always been standard procedure,” she said.


Wild Ligers?


Long before fans heard Napoleon claim that the liger is “pretty much my favorite animal,” there have been rumors of the hybrid’s existence in the wild.

Lion-tiger mating occurs in captivity. But it does not happen in the wild, probably for the same reason humans do not breed with gorillas or chimps.

“Crossing the species line” does not generally occur in the wild, because “it would result in diminished fitness of the offspring,” said Ronald Tilson, director of conservation at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.

Geography is another obstacle to natural lion-tiger mating. Wild tigers mainly inhabit Asia, whereas the lion’s current natural habitat is almost entirely in Africa.

The Gir National Forest in India is the only place in the world where tiger and lion ranges overlap, fueling speculation that wild ligers roamed the area hundreds of years ago.

Tilson doesn’t believe it.

“This would be highly improbable, because the Gir forest is really very dry and not optimal tiger habitat,” he said.


A Liger Named Patrick


Perched on the edge of the Mojave Desert near Los Angeles , California , a lone liger, named Patrick, lives at Shambala Preserve, which bills itself as “a haven for endangered exotic big cats.”

“The interesting thing about these animals is that they have the best qualities of the tiger and the best of the lion,” said movie actress and conservationist Tippi Hedren, who has run Shambala since 1972. “Those qualities manifest themselves in the fact that they like to be in the water [a tiger trait] and are very social [a lion trait].”

Many of the cats at the 80-acre (32-hectare) sanctuary are orphans or castoffs from circuses, zoos, and private owners who could no longer care for the animals.

ShambalaPatrick arrived at the sanctuary seven years ago after federal authorities shutdown the roadside zoo in Illinois where he lived.

The 800-pound (360-kilogram) liger was kept in such a small cage that his hind-leg muscles had started to atrophy, said Hedren, who starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.

Patrick’s compound at Shambala allows him plenty of room for exercise. A stream runs through his compound, so his tiger half can play in the water or his lion half can stay out of it, whichever he chooses.


Liger in the Hills


Spirit of the Hills Wildlife Sanctuary in Spearfish, South Dakota , recently acquired a liger named Samson and 48 other big cats after federal authorities closed a Minnesota wildlife facility.

“Everyone who comes wants to see Samson,” said Trevor Smith, an environmental biologist and sanctuary board member.

The four-and-a-half-year-old hybrid tips the scales at over a thousand pounds (over 450 kilograms), and eats 30 to 50 pounds (14 to 23 kilograms) of raw meat every other day.

Liger at Big Cat Rescue

“Samson is really picky. He’ll only eat beef, elk, and venison,” Smith said. “We try and feed him chicken, like the other animals, but he won’t touch it. He’ll let it rot in the sun.”

The sanctuary-whose mission is to educate people about wild animals and emphasize that they don’t make good pets-has seen a surge in visitors since Samson’s arrival in June.

Much of the public’s curiosity about the liger stems from Napoleon Dynamite, Smith said.

Smith worries that Samson is “becoming too much of a freak show.”

If Samson had his way, Smith said, he’d sleep away the day inside, away from public view. 

“We’ve had a huge ethical debate at the sanctuary on whether or not we should lock him out of his shed,” Smith said. “But at the same time, he’s why the visitors are coming.”



Tigons and Ti-tigons


A tigon is the product of a male tiger and female lion. They receive growth inhibitor genes from both parents and so are smaller than either of them. They show much the same coloration of ligers except they sometimes have more distinct stripes. As with ligers the females are fertile whereas the males are sterile. They have the same vocalizations as liger, a sort of cross between lion and tiger. Ti-tigons speak tiger. Tigons are now rarer than ligers, but in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s tigons were more common.

Meet our past liger friend Freckles 

This lion and tiger had been raised together for the bad purpose of creating ligers.  The female was spayed and the male got a vasectomy upon arrival to Big Cat Rescue to ensure there would be no “accidents.”


Ligers in the News




View “Liger” on Spundge

Big Cat Rescue does not condone the breeding of ligers.  These news stories are posted so that you can help us educate people as to why it is cruel to breed ligers and tigons.






What are Liligers?


As sad as the video above is, it isn’t even as bad as the places that use the cubs for petting and photo sessions because those cubs are taken from their mothers shortly after birth and denied the protective love their mothers would try to give them, as this one who was filmed at a zoo.


They are a money making scheme promoted by some of what we believe to be the world’s worst big cat exploiters.

First it was this guy promoting Ligers.

Then it was his friend, Joe Exotic, who tried to out-do him by continuing the cross breeding of ligers and lions to make, what he calls Liligers.  He’s made up some other ridiculous names, such as TaLigers, TiLigers, WaLiligers as well, but it’s all the same.  It is just the cross breeding of big cats to get attention and so that they can charge for pay to play sessions.

The question that reporters should be asking is, “Why is Joe Schreibvogel breeding more big mouths to feed when he is already in bankruptcy?” An Internet search on his name would have brought up where all of the facts are laid out about this backyard breeder. As for condoning hybridization of big cats, no respectable zoo does it, no legitimate scientist condones it for conservation, so why does the media promote it?


Craig Packer, director of the Lion Research Center at the University of Minnesota has said “In terms of conservation, it’s so far away from anything, it’s kind of pointless to even say it’s irrelevant”. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the organisation responsible for accrediting zoos in North America, neither approves of nor breeds white lions, white tigers, nor hybrids such as ligers, liligars, taligers, tiligers, or tigons.

Today at Big Cat Rescue Aug 17 2013

Today at Big Cat Rescue Aug 17 2013

Lion vs Tiger? … Which is your favorite?

Liger lion vs tiger

Please don’t ask the age old, childish question about which one would win in a fight.  We don’t even what to think about cats fighting.
Learn the TRUTH about LIGERS here:

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Cat Chat Show Notes Aug 7 2013

Cat Chat Show Notes Aug 7 2013

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August 5 2013 This morning USDA published the Big Cat Coalition’s petition in the Federal Register –

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Who put the Con in Conservation?


What does a liger look like?





EIA – Expertise in Environmental Issues


THE London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is pleased to offer the expertise of its experienced, authoritative campaigners to journalists and writers covering environmental issues.


EIA was established in 1984 to investigate, expose and campaign against the illegal trade in wildlife and the exploitation of the natural environment, and has built an international reputation for its pioneering use of undercover techniques.


Working to uncover transnational organised environmental crime – such as the illegal trades in wildlife, timber and ozone-depleting substances – EIA routinely employs secret cameras, hidden tape recorders, photography, fake front companies, false identities and clandestine on-site visits to obtain hard evidence of crime.


By seeking to identify and expose eco crime and then alert governments, police and customs, EIA has directly brought about significant changes in international law and the policies of governments, saving the lives of millions of rare and endangered animals, stemming flows of illegal timber and putting a stop to the devastating impacts of environmental criminals.


Our major achievements include bringing about an international ivory ban in 1987; stopping the illegal wild bird trade; putting an end to the smuggling of ozone-depleting CHC gases; prompting Indonesia’s biggest ever crackdown on illegal logging; revealing the trans-Himalayan trade in big cat skins; spurring major internet companies to withdraw cetacean products; and playing a major role in bringing about the 2013 European Union Timber Regulation.


EIA investigators are acknowledged experts in their respective fields, able to provide journalists with insightful background briefings and highly informed comment for both breaking news stories and deep background features.


Please call us on +44 (0) 20 7354 7960 for comment, or contact our campaigners directly from the list of specialties below:






Julian Newman

Campaigns Director



Expertise: environmental crime, especially illegal logging, smuggling of ozone-depleting substances and illicit trade in electronic waste


Julian joined EIA in July 1997 as an investigator after working as a journalist for six years. He has carried out field investigations into illegal logging in Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Vietnam and Laos, and wildlife crime investigations in Tanzania, Zambia, Singapore and China. He has also been involved in training local NGOs in Indonesia and Tanzania. Since 2008 he has been Campaigns Director.





Clare Perry

Head of Cetaceans Campaign



Expertise: Icelandic whaling, Japanese scientific whaling, Japanese coastal whaling of small cetaceans, contaminants in whale meat, marine debris


A biologist with experience in environmental consultancy and marine conservation, Clare joined EIA in 1998 to work on the Cetacean Campaign and has led many investigations into Japanese whale & dolphin hunting and Icelandic whaling, working closely on EIA’s corporate campaign to reduce the Japanese market for cetacean products. Clare has attended meetings of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) since 1999, and was a member of the IWC Scientific Committee from 1999-2004.






Mary Rice

Executive Director & Head of Elephants Campaign



Expertise: elephant and rhinoceros conservation issues, poaching, ivory smuggling, legal and illegal ivory trade & markets, illegal rhino horn trade, veterinary cordon fences


Mary has been with EIA since 1996, joining as a volunteer before holding positions including Head of Communications & Projects and Head of Development. She is responsible for directing the long-term strategic management of EIA as well as working on specific projects and leading the Elephants Campaign.






Charlotte Davies

Intelligence Analyst



Expertise: environmental crime esp illegal wildlife trade (Asian big cats, ivory, rhino horn, pangolins), organised crime, crime analysis, criminology


Charlotte joined EIA in 2008. She previously worked as a police crime analyst and primarily works on the illegal wildlife trade and illegal logging. She maintains an overview of other wildlife trade dynamics which are currently not subject to specific campaigns (ie, rhino horn, pangolins, lions).






Faith Doherty

Head of Forests Campaign



Expertise: forest law, forest governance issues in SouthEast Asia (esp Indonesia & Burma/Myanmar) and China, illegal logging, timber barons, European Union Timber Regulation, human rights in Burma/Myanmar


After working in the environment movement and human rights community, with a special focus on Burma/Myanmar, Faith joined EIA in the late 1990s. Her work on the Forests Campaign includes a focus on Indonesia, SouthEast Asia and the consuming countries of Western Europe. In 2000, she and a colleague were kidnapped, beaten and pressed at gunpoint to recant evidence of forestry crime in Indonesia, uncovered by EIA and its partner Telapak. Together with Indonesian partners, Faith led an EIA campaign against Indonesian timber barons resulting in an Indonesia/EU bilateral treaty through the EU Forest Law, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) action plan. Faith is currently leading EIA’s Forests Campaign.



Jago Wadley

Forests Campaigner



Expertise: forest law, forest issues in SouthEast Asia and China, illegal logging, REDD+, oil palm plantations, European Union Timber Regulation


Jago spent three years investigating UK and European timber imports for Greenpeace UK before joining EIA’s forest campaign in 2005. He has been involved in EIA’s illegal logging and timber trade investigations in Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Thailand, Laos, and other Asian countries, and in EIA’s timber trade regulation campaign in the EU. More recently, following three years delivering civil society training in Indonesia’s Papua and West Papua provinces, Jago has developed EIA’s work on plantations expansion, and also leads EIA’s work on REDD+.






Clare Perry

Head of Global Environment Campaign



Expertise: ozone-depleting substances, climate-changing gases, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the Montreal Protocol, European Union F-Gas Regulation, F-gases in refrigerants and air-conditioning


Joining EIA in 1998 to work on the Cetacean Campaign, Clare has also led the Global Environment Campaign since 2007, focusing on efforts to rid the world of climate-damaging HFCs. She regularly attends UN Montreal Protocol meetings and is working closely with retailers through the Consumer Goods Forum to persuade supermarkets to rapidly phase out HFCs.



Natasha Hurley

Global Environment Campaigner



Expertise: Montreal Protocol, ozone-depleting substances, EU & international climate policy, EU political process, Clean Development Mechanism, carbon markets, carbon offsetting


Natasha’s work at EIA includes monitoring & combating the illegal trade in ozone-depleting substances (CFCs & HCFCs) and lobbying for an international phase-out of HFCs. She previously worked for carbon market watchdog CDM Watch in Brussels.






Debbie Banks

Head of Tigers Campaign



Expertise: investigations and advocacy, tiger & Asian big cat conservation issues, organised wildlife crime, Asian big cat poaching and trafficking, tiger farming, trade in tiger parts and derivatives in traditional Chinese medicines, illegal trade in tiger skins and bones, trans-Himalayan smuggling routes


Debbie has been with EIA since 1996, volunteering for a year before joining as a campaigner and, in 2001, becoming Tiger Campaign Leader. She is a member of the Board of the Species Survival Network (SSN) and Chair of the SSN Big Cat Working Group. She has trained several investigators on the Tigers Campaign since 1999 and has worked on projects and investigations in India, Nepal, China, Thailand, USA, Europe and Japan. Debbie has a BSc in Zoology and an MSc in Conservation.






EIA has an extensive library of documentation comprising video and film, slides, prints and digital images relating to our environmental crime investigations.


For footage and film inquiries, please contact Communications Officer Emma Clark or +44 (0) 20 7354 7960.


For general media inquiries, please contact Press & Communications Officer Paul Newman or +44 (0) 20 7354 7960.
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