Russia: birth of the world's first liligre
The Novosibirsk zoo in Siberia saw the birth of the world's first lilig a month ago. Baptized Kiara, this feline comes from the union of a lion and a liger, itself designed by a lion and a tigress.
It is both a happy event and an astonishing news that the Novosibirsk zoo in Russia has just announced. The establishment has just welcomed a new resident ... unlike the others: a liligre. This baby is a small female from a coupling between Sam the zoo lion and Zita who is already a liger. In other words, she herself is a hybrid born from a lion dad and a tiger mother. However, this is the first time that a lion and a liger have mated to give birth to a lilig.
It is therefore with great joy that the teams of the Novosibirsk zoo welcomed this new resident already full of energy. Christened Kiara, the little feline does not presently present any physical particularity. What is not the case of his hybrid mother who is particularly tall, has a male build but a coat wrapped in stripes like a female. It will therefore take some time before Kiara shows external signs of its origins. Born a month ago but placed in quarantine, the little one is currently fed by a domestic cat, her biological mother not having enough milk to feed her.
Roza Solovyova, a member of the Novosibirsk Zoo, says Kiara is in excellent health, but he will have to wait until early October to visit him. "Kiara is just starting to grow and develop. She has not yet built her character but I am very confident, she will be calm, serene and strong," she told Reuters.
If we know today several species of hybrids including felines, it is actually rather rare to meet them in nature. In fact, if they are compatible, species very often have different geographic locations, behaviors and reproductive periods which limit contact between them. But in zoos where proximity is accentuated, it is common for matings to take place and give birth to hybrids as is the case for Kiara.
However, the descendants of these animals are far from always guaranteed since they sometimes cannot have them. Male ligers are, for example, in most cases mysteriously sterile, while females can have cubs with a tiger or a lion. As for the physical characteristics or the behavior of hybrids, they generally reflect the mixture from which the animal comes, but can randomly lean more towards one species than towards the other. Certain ligers will thus show more peculiarities of lion than of tiger.