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World's first liliger born in Russian zoo

By Josh Furlong  |  Posted Sep 20th, 2012 @ 2:37pm

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RUSSIA — The world's first documented "liliger" was born at the Novosibirsk Zoo in Russia sometime in August.

The female cub Kiara is a hybrid between her African lion father and her liger — a cross between a lion and tiger — mother. The cub is the first known liliger in the world.

Because Kiara's mother, Zita, stopped producing milk soon after delivering the cub, Kiara has been adopted by the zoo's domestic cat, Dasha. Kiara is being kept in quarantine, but will be available for the public to see sometime in October.

"Dasha belongs to our zoo keepers, but lives on the zoo's territory, so she is familiar to the smells and sounds of it," Roza Solovyeva, head of the cats section of Novosibirsk Zoo, told The Sun. "She has recently had a kitten, and very soon after Kiara was born, Dasha accepted her."

Female liliger cub Kiara, a hybrid between a lion and a ligress, at the Novosibirsk Zoo, in Novosibirsk, eastern Sibiria, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. Kiara is the first female liliger born over a month ago at the Novosibirsk Zoo. Kiara's mother, Zita, stopped producing milk almost immediately after giving birth, so Zoo employees placed Kiara in a separate facility and feed her with a special milk mix. The cub plays with a house cat which also provides motherly warmth. (AP Photo /Ilnar Salakhiev)

Kiara has tiger stripes on her forehead, but has the appearance of a lion. Zoos have attempted to breed different species over the years, but many animal sanctuary organizations condemn the act, calling it "inhumane."

"In a nutshell, it is an irresponsible thing to do and there is no redeeming reason to cross breed these cats nor to support those who do by buying one," Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue, said on the animal sanctuary's website. "It almost never works out for the individual cat and in the rare case that it does, the number of animals that had to suffer in order for this one rare cat to exist is staggering."

Kiara spends most of her day playing with Dasha.


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