|Hercules The Liger with Ragani Ferrante from |
T.I.G.E.R.S.(The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species )
It is the largest of all cats and extant felines.
Ligers inherit characteristics from both species. Ligers enjoy swimming which is a characteristic of tigers and are very sociable like lions. However ligers may inherit health issues or behavioural issues due to conflicting inherited traits, but this depends on the mix of genes inherited. Ligers exist only in captivity because the parental species do not normally meet. None have been confirmed in the one region where both cats coexist (Gir Forest region, India). Ligers may grow to, or exceed, the size of the larger parent.
In 1825, G.B. Whittaker made an engraving of liger cubs born in 1824. The parents and their three liger offspring are also depicted with their trainer in a 19th Century painting in the naïve style.
Two liger cubs which had been born in 1837 were exhibited to William IV and to his successor Victoria. On 14 December 1900 and on 31 May 1901, Carl Hagenbeck wrote to zoologist James Cossar Ewart with details and photographs of ligers born at the Hagenbeck's Tierpark in Hamburg in 1897.
It has remained for one of the most enterprising collectors and naturalists of our time, Mr Carl Hagenbeck, not only to breed, but to bring successfully to a healthy maturity, specimens of this rare alliance between those two great and formidable felidae, the lion and tiger. The illustrations will indicate sufficiently how fortunate Mr Hagenbeck has been in his efforts to produce these hybrids. The oldest and biggest of the animals shown is a hybrid born on the 11th May, 1897. This fine beast, now more than five years old, equals and even excels in his proportions a well-grown lion, measuring as he does from nose tip to tail 10 ft 2 inches in length, and standing only three inches less than 4 ft at the shoulder. A good big lion will weigh about 400 lb the hybrid in question, weighing as it does no less than 467 lb, is certainly the superior of the most well-grown lions, whether wild-bred or born in a menagerie. This animal shows faint striping and mottling, and, in its characteristics, exhibits strong traces of both its parents. It has a somewhat lion-like head, and the tail is more like that of a lion than of a tiger. On the other hand, it has no trace of mane. It is a huge and very powerful beast.
In 1935, four ligers from two litters were reared in the Zoological Gardens of Bloemfontein, South Africa. Three of them, a male and two females, were still living in 1953. The male weighed 340 kg (750 lb) and stood a foot and a half (45 cm) taller than a full grown male lion at the shoulder.
Although ligers are more commonly found than tigons today, in At Home In The Zoo (1961), Gerald Iles wrote "For the record I must say that I have never seen a liger, a hybrid obtained by crossing a lion with a tigress. They seem to be even rarer than tigons."
Lion + liger = li-liger | Lion + tigon = li-tigon | Tiger + liger = ti-liger | Tiger + tigon = ti-tigon
Size and growth
|Photo of male and female ligers (a liger is a cross-breed of a lion and a tiger) |
taken at Everland amusement park, South Korea. Taken with a Canon PowerShot A710IS 1/500 sec at F/4.
Digitally modified to remove electric fence wires. pic by Hkandy
It is erroneously believed that ligers continue to grow throughout their lives due to hormonal issues. It may be that they simply grow far more during their growing years and take longer to reach their full adult size. Further growth in shoulder height and body length is not seen in Ligers over 6 years old, same as both lions and tigers. Male ligers also have the same levels of testosterone on average as an adult male lion, yet are azoospermic in accordance with Haldane's rule. In addition, female ligers may also attain great size, weighing approximately 320 kg (705 lb) and reaching 3.05 m (10 ft) long on average, and are often fertile. In contrast, pumapards (hybrids between pumas and leopards) tend to exhibit dwarfism.
Interestingly enough, ligers are the same size as the prehistoric American Lion.
Hercules and Sinbad
|Hercules The Liger|
Hercules and Sinbad belong to the T.I.G.E.R.S. family of animal ambassadors, who put on the "Tale of the Tiger" show on Jungle Island every day.
Shasta, a ligress (female liger) was born at the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City on May 14, 1948 and died in 1972 at age 24. The 1973 Guinness world records reported an 18-year-old, 798 kg (1,759 lb) male liger living at Bloemfontein zoological gardens, South Africa, in 1988. Valley of the Kings animal sanctuary in Wisconsin had a male liger named Nook who weighed around 550 kg (1,213 lb), and died in 2007, at 21 years old.
|Hercules The Liger and his trainer, Dr. Bhagavan Antle, photographed by |
Andy Carvin at a Renaissance Festival in Massachusetts, USA, October 2005.
The fertility of hybrid big cat females is well-documented across a number of different hybrids. This is in accordance with Haldane's rule: in hybrids of animals whose sex is determined by sex chromosomes, if one sex is absent, rare or sterile, it is the heterogametic sex (the one with two different sex chromosomes e.g. X and Y).
According to Wild Cats of the World (1975) by C. A. W. Guggisberg, ligers and tigons were long thought to be sterile: In 1943, however, a fifteen-year-old hybrid between a lion and an 'Island' tiger was successfully mated with a lion at the Munich Hellabrunn Zoo. The female cub, though of delicate health, was raised to adulthood.
|Freckels the Liger on top of her den|
She was given antibiotics in case it was just an injury, but now that she has become more calm in her new setting we can see that the problem stems from several broken teeth. Caged cats will often break off their teeth trying to chew their way out of their prison cells and when she was left behind to die in Mississippi she probably did just that.
The dental work was completed on Freckles without any problems and she as made a full recovery. (See 2nd video in the playlist below).
Freckles passed away of neurological disease on July 5, 2011.
To help Big Cat Rescue with procedures like these which costs lots of money, visit bigcatrescue to donate
White tigers have been crossed with lions to produce "white" (actually pale golden) ligers. In theory white tigers could be crossed with white lions to produce white, very pale or even stripeless ligers. A black liger does not actually exist. Very few melanistic tigers have ever been recorded, most being due to excessive markings (pseudo-melanism or abundism) rather than true melanism. No reports of black lions have ever been substantiated. The blue or Maltese Tiger is now unlikely to exist, making gray or blue ligers an impossibility. It is not impossible for a liger to be white, but it is very rare.
Keeping the two species separate has always been standard procedure. However, ligers have occurred and do occur by accident in captivity. Several AZA(Association of Zoos and Aquariums) zoos are reported to have ligers.