Lion/tiger crossbred ‘liger’ cubs create controversy – photos

Baby “Ligers”, which are hybrids of lions and a tigresses, sleep inside a private zoo in Tainan August 15, 2010. The zoo has become the first in Taiwan to see through the birth of “ligers”, with the owner facing a fine for violating wildlife rules.
HO/REUTERS

Lesley Ciarula Taylor Staff Reporter

Local authorities have confiscated two newborn liger cubs – crossbreeds of a tiger and a lion from a private zoo in Taiwan, reports Tuesday say.

The cubs have been taken to a research institute at the National Pinghtung University’s Institute of Wildlife Conservation, Focus Taiwan reported. The zoo owner, Huang Kuo-nan, faces fines of up to $50,000 for “breeding protected animals,” said Wu Hsing-hao, chief of the Forest and Natural Conservation Section of the Department of Agriculture.

The three-day-old cubs are the offspring of an African lion and a Bengal tiger kept in the same cage for the last six years at the World Snake King Education Farm. One of the original litter died at birth.Ligers are rare but have been known since the 19th century and grow to be the biggest of the cat family, far larger than lions.

The Environmental and Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) had called for punishment against Huang for illegally cross-breeding protected species, which Lin Tai-jing, an EAST researcher, called “completely against nature.”

Huang, known as “the snake king,” said the breeding was an accident, although he described the lion and tiger as “childhood sweethearts.”

The zookeeper is also under investigation for the alleged trade of endangered species.

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