Made-in-China, with a little controversial human help, a zoo in Hainan province claims to have bred a pride of ligers.
The offspring of a female tiger and a male lion, and larger than both parents, ligers are the product of human intervention as the two animals never meet in the wild.
But Hainan Tropical Wildlife and Botanical Garden in the island province’s capital of Haikou says it has successfully bred 13 of the animals believed to be the largest of the cat family.
Reports of liger breeding date back to the 1800s, but the practice is frowned upon in some countries, especially in Taiwan where the crossbreeding of protected species is illegal.
There are barely 3,500 tigers left in the wild, according to a World Bank report released earlier this year, which urged international action to help protect the animal in 2010, the Chinese Zodiac year of the tiger.
Some animal rights activists argue that ligers suffer from defects as a result of the cross-breeding and are little help in preserving an already endangered species.
The last case of liger cubs in Taiwan earlier this year earned the breeder a hefty $1500 fine.
But Hainan’s breeders are undeterred and its six-month-old male liger cub is the pride of the zoo. Hand reared from birth, zoo manager, He Zailin, said the cub is given free range in the staff quarters.
"Ligers are, the father is a lion and the mother is a tiger. This liger was rejected by his mother when he was small, he was only 600 grams, he is already six-months-old," he said.
The zoo claims to hold the world record in the number of ligers born to one mother, twelve altogether.
Officials say they have also managed to breed tiglons with a female lion and a male tiger.
Editorial Message 
This site contains materials from other clearly stated media sources for the purpose of discussion stimulation and content enrichment among our members only. does not necessarily endorse their views or the accuracy of their content. For copyright infringement issues please contact