At the time, they were depicted in several pieces of artwork. In 1837, two liger cubs were presented to King William IV and Queen Victoria.
And in 1897, Carl Hagenbeck, a German circus owner and wild-animal trader, had a couple of ligers born in his zoo. Then, in 1935, four liger cubs from two different litters were raised in the Zoological Gardens of Bloemfontein, South Africa.
It is believed that there are less than 100 existing ligers, although the exact number is unknown. You won’t find ligers in the wild—lions are usually found in Africa, while tigers are from Asia. The one place where wild lions and tigers exist in the same area is in India’s Gir National Forest. So, the only opportunity they really have to mate is when they’re in captivity.
Many wildlife conservationists see the breeding of ligers as cruel and inhumane. The cats can suffer from birth defects and often die young. And since ligers are bigger in size than their parents, the mother is subjected to great risk when carrying and delivering her offspring. However, some argue that when cross-bred by professionals, ligers can be wonderful, healthy animals that are full of energy.
The majority of hybrid species are sterile, but the liger can actually reproduce with both lions and tigers. Female ligers have more success with reproducing than males.
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