Liger Cubs Nursed by Dog in China

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Two liger cubs were born on May 13th and after being abandoned by their mother they are now being nursed by an adoptive caretaker, a small black female dog.

A liger is a hybrid species that is created when a male lion and a female tigress mate in captivity, this hybrid is not to be confused with a tigon, which is created when a male tiger and a female lion mate. These cubs are the only two that survived of the four cub litter, and they are being nursed back to health thanks to the help of this friendly little dog and the zoo keepers at the Xixiahou Wildlife Zoo in China.

Ligers are an extremely rare species and according to the Chinese state television there are only 20 that are currently in existence. These two particular cubs were born to an African lion and a Manchurian tiger and only one male and one female cub survived, the other two cubs died shortly after their birth.

Zookeepers told the Associated Press that after some initial issues the cubs are now thriving on the milk from their surrogate canine mother. However, since ligers are known as the largest of the feline species in the world it is expected that these tiny cubs will outgrow their adoptive mother quickly.

A full sized male can be up to 900 pounds, 100 times the size of a house cat, and about twice the size of a lion or a tiger. Even, the bone structure of ligers can be about twice the size of a tiger, or can even be the size of both their mother and father combined.

The large size of this hybrid species can be contributed to their lack of a growth-inhibiting gene that keeps them at a normal size. While these cubs may out grow their adoptive mother soon they are in fact growing healthier everyday thanks to a little help from a canine friend and very unlikely mother.

Photo by Ali West via Wikimedia Commons

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