Mother Nature has its way of leaving procreation within species but there are cases when breeding crosses the line. In the wild, it is quite rare for lions and tigers to be in the same territory. Rarely do these species interbreed to form a hybrid species.
Well, humans are well-known to interfere with the course of nature – we wouldn’t be as advanced as we are now if not for our curiosity. Still, is it reason enough for us to play God and make a new species? Ask the staff and zookeepers at a zoo in Novosibirsk, Russia.
They managed to create a new species: the liger, a hybrid of a lion and tiger. Actually, they are not the first to do it, with ligers documented as far back as 1798 with a color plate made by Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire. We can only assume that he was documenting the real thing.
I couldn’t, for the life of me, understand why this species is not as popular and well-known as the others. Perhaps because man was tampering with nature and these are so-called “freaks”. Maybe not! Ligers are not freaks because they look as adorable (or majestic!) as their parents. In fact, ligers are the largest known cat species, inheriting the best genes, perhaps.
Digging around, I found that standard zoo policies keep the species in separate enclosures. Of course, not all zoos have that policy.
A liger herself, the lioness – Zita – bred with a lion and produced not 1 but 3 cute liliger cubs! Seeing these really adorable cubs made me forget my questions about man’s tampering the course of nature. Just as long as they don’t breed humans with monkeys! Gross!
About the author: Joy B. Adalia is the blogger chemist2writer. She pens about a wide range of topics, mostly about parenthood, various product reviews, and giveaways.
Image credits: DailyMail and AP