World's First 'Liliger' Cub Is Cute, But Sad

Kiara, is a "liliger", the offspring of a lion and a female liger. Yes, the same sort of liger mentioned in Napoleon Dynamite by the film's crazy-haired protagonist. She was born at the Novosibirsk Zoo in Russia and while adorable as heck, Kiara's existence raises concerning questions about the motivations of some in animal "conservation".

As the National Geographic points out, it is extremely unlikely Kiara would have been conceived in the wild. Outside of zoos, tigers and lions are kept apart by distance, geography and behaviour, so the odds of them mingling are remote.

According to Craig Packer, an expert at the University of Minnesota's Lion Research Center, lions are "very sociable and cooperative" while tigers are the complete opposite. As such, it's uncertain how poor Kiara will deal with these very different psychological prerogatives as she matures.

So why breed such a hybrid in the first place? As Packer states:

"In terms of conservation," he said, "it's so far away from anything, it's kind of pointless to even say it's irrelevant."

Perhaps it's for the spectacle? I'm sure Kiara will draw the crowds. If that's the case, her story is a sad one indeed.

[National Geographic]

Video: ITN News


Comments

    Has no one read Frankenstein? Shelley "predicted" a century or so ago what happens in this kind of situation.

    I think Apple just found the name for OS X 10.9!

      Ha gold!

    I thought Ligers/Tigons were supposed to be sterile, like mules and other cross-species hybrids?

      The males of hybrid species are, while the females are not.

    I just hope it doesn't go the same way it went with man and monkeys.

    I don't think it's sad in the least, breeding like this is perfectly natural, although very unlikely in the wild. It's what gave us different species originally, part of evolution in action dontchaknow? :)
    Besides, drawing crowds helps raise awareness and affection and interest in the big cats and the need to preserve their habits.
    Short sighted environmental puritanism is not helping anything.

      So you're first in line to breed with a gorilla?

        Assuming that a successful union is made you would then also volunteer to back-cross for an increased chance of keeping the genetic traits? Have a think about what you are saying. A number of "techniques" are used to genetically manipulate animals including forced incest to increase the expression of desirable traits. It IS sad and definitely NOT, as you put it, "short sighted environmental puritanism". This is animal abuse. Sadly this type of selective breeding is practiced widely throughout the domestic animal market. A number of domestic cat "species" wouldn't exist for consumers to purchase without this kind of human "intervention". It is sick and unless you are willing to subject yourself to the same experience you shouldn't condone it.

          Dont understand why it is sick they have give life to something that would not have existed otherwise.

      Someone needs to refresh their knowledge of evolution. Cross-breeding is NOT how evolution works.

    So people that are halfbreeds, or quarter breeds , should feel sad about their existence too?

      If you believe two humans of different genetic backgrounds is in any way equivalent to two different species interbreeding, I feel sad for your existence.

        Most humans alive today can owe their existence to different species interbreeding. There's a fair amount of evidence to suggest that Neanderthal and early humans interbred. Studies of European and Asian DNA indicate that between 1% and 4% is non-modern; i.e. derived from Neanderthal or other now extinct hominin sub-species.

          Except that 'evidence' is a really strong word considering it's entirely possible that's the shared DNA both species have from a common ancestor. In any case, it's not at all relative to the bozo above obviously equating a human child with parents of different races to an animal with parents of different species, which is what I was commenting on. The two things cannot in any way be compared. If he'd been talking about the possibility of modern man being a crossbreed, as you did, he may have had an actual valid point.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now