A zoo in Siberia has become home to three more liligers — an artificial hybrid of a lion and a liger, itself a cross between a lion and a tigress. The three cubs were born at Novosibirsk zoo last month, a year after Kiara, the world’s first liliger was born. Kiara’s parents were Zita, a liger who was born in the zoo in 2004, and a young African lion named Sam.
The debate about artificial breeding remains controversial. In an interview with National Geographic magazine last year, Craig Packer, the director of the Lion Research Centre at the University of Minnesota, expressed his disapproval of the hybrid, which would never occur in nature. He said: “In terms of conservation it’s so far away from anything, it’s kind of pointless to even say it’s irrelevant.”