Ligers: a Myth That Once Was
That in turns questions the future these animals have. Everybody should become more aware of the Liger’s uncertain future by first learning about their past and present. It is looking back that will help us better understand this animal and make people aware of what their future entails. A liger is the offspring off male lion and a female tiger. It has been said that the liger’s size can be equal to its parent’s sizes combined. The liger can get up to 10-12 feet in length. A full grown male liger can easily weigh up to 1,000 pounds. With the sizes these animals are capable getting to without a doubt makes them the largest big cat member.
The appearance of the liger vary a little but basic color Is pale ochre to rust yellow-brown. They will have a spotted belly and a striped back. The males, in general, will have a small mane like a lion and facial ruff like a tiger might have. The female ligers tend to show conflicting needs for lioness-like sisterhood and tigress-like solitude (“Ligers,” 2008). Down through history, and very occasionally, animals fitting the description of ligers have been sighted in the forests of India ,and Hess rumors have persisted for over 1,000 years (“Ligers,” 2002).
A liger born in 2002 at Fuzz, Fijian Province, lived for more than 100 days. In July 2004, a liger cub born in a wildlife park In Hanna, China died of respiratory failure 72 hours after birth. The liger cub was born underweight and its death was attributed to congenital respiratory failure. According to Hanna biologist Dir. Al Yuck, only one out of 500,000 lion-tiger ,or tiger-Lion cubs survive, due to differences in their chromosomes (“Ligers,” 2008). Russia possibly had its flirts liger reduced by the combination of a Bengal tigress and Africa lion on December 6, 2004 which resulted in two liger cubs.
A liger’s by the name of Shasta set a longevity record. She was born in 1948 and died in 1972 when she was at the age of 24. An 18- year old male liger weighing 750 pounds was reported by the 1973 Guinness world records to be living in South Africa in 1953 (“Ligers,” 2008). Names of more current ligers are: Hobbs, Suds, Patrick, Sinbad, and Hercules. Hobbs was born in 1992 and died in 2007 shortly turning 14 years old and weighing about 900 pounds. Patrick the liger was born in 1990 and weighs about 650 pounds. Sinbad and Hercules both weigh 900 pounds.
Hercules has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest cat on Earth. There Is proof both ways that show ligers die early or live long and healthy lives. Was not planned. A lion was kept in an enclosure with some tigresses and Hercules was a result. Some ligers are also occasionally bred for the “pet” market and the future of these animals when in inexperienced hands can be seen as grim (“Ligers,” 2002). Its been said that accredited zoos will not allow the breeding of lions and tigers because it does not help with conservation.
Those zoos do not agree with putting different animals together in an enclosure. Many zoos will also not allow ligers because of their size. They fear that the liger will get to big to control. Then everybody says, “What about ligers in the wild? ” Though it is not impossible, it Just has not been documented that a liger has been found in the wild. It has been questioned if a liger could even survive out in the wild. A tiger would be little inclined to Join a pride of lions which are more social. With a liger having conflicting tendencies whose to say how a liger might act.
The chances off lion and tiger meeting together in the wild are slim to none. Lions are mainly Africa and tigers are mostly forest in Asia. There is a claim that their areas overlap in one area of the world. This being the Girl National Park and Lion Sanctuary in Bangladesh. Within the sanctuary itself is the only lion subspecies found outside of Africa, and this is the very rare Asiatic lion. The lion rules in Girl Forest and no tigers are found there (“Ligers,” 2002) so its said that ligers are not in the wild. Hybrids are said to be sterile, at least the males are. The female ligers are fertile ND can reproduce.
Ligers are said to have a very gentle disposition due to the lack of testosterone. There is also claims that the liger has a short life span. The average life span for a liger is 15 to 20 years. Ligers are said to suffer from diseases like cancers and arthritis. Ligers also have been labeled genetically weak and tend to live shorter lives than either parent. According to (“Ligers,” 2009) there are often times, the mother tiger requires a C-section because liger cubs are larger than tiger cubs. Because of this, its said that the tigress often dies during birthing process.
Ligers are prone to gigantic and continue to grow throughout their lives. In some cases, zoos have been known to dispose of these animals because they reached a dangerous size. They say many suffer from depression and confusion as they age due to conflicting behavioral instincts and an unstable temperament. Its also said that they suffer from health issues or problems due to genetic abnormalities that is associated with habitation. Ligers are not strong genetically and tend to die at a young age. Arthritis, diseases, and cancer are also a few things ligers tend to be prone to.
Many who exploit these creatures claim to do so out of conservation. But what does breeding hybrids that would, never exist in the wild, do for conservation? They claim the answer is, nothing (“Ligers,” 2009). Dir. Vaughan Antler, who is the director of T. I. G. E. R. S. Preserve has been raising and training ligers for many years now. His ligers are an example of accidental breeding because he had tigresses in an enclosure with a young male lion. According to Antler (2009) “We were not sure what we were goanna have when the first ligers came around. No information about liger rationality was on the books.
There’s some kind of myth or legend about them. They break social ideas and rules in some way and their kind of like a Unicorn and mermaid in another (Antler, 2009). According to Antler (2009), “There’s a social idea somehow the liger is less than the lion or tiger. That it is somehow weak or sickly. That ligers die young. They do not have all the incredible prowess of the mother or father. The liger is full of hybrid vigor. They are full of energy. They live Just as long. They are not prone to disease. Their large size does not put pressure on his body.
Their bodies are made to take that pressure. That ligers are sterile is another quick myth. Everyone says well ligers grow big but, of course, ligers are sterile. This is a crazy notion people Just apply to hybrids. Hybrids do reproduce. Ligers can reproduce with other lions or tigers. Female ligers reproduce much easier than male ligers do. The potential for a liger to exist is totally a realistic thing. Given that there were a 100,000 lions ,and a 100,000 tigers that had some chance meeting. Their habitats overlap every bit as much as polar bears and grizzly bears do” (Antler, 2009).
There are still so many reasons why the debate about these creatures have done gone on for so long and even to this day. Each side of the debate has shown that they have the information to backup the claim that they have made. On one hand they see examples of ligers dying at a very young age caused by disease or health problems. Then they see examples of ligers who live long and healthy lives. They also hear about ligers not reproducing because their sterile and then there’s someone who shows you that they can reproduce. Both sides can continue to debate certain points but they do have common ground.
Each will say that the only ligers a person will see are ones that have been breed in captivity. Whether ligers are accidental or purposely breed should not be the focus of the debate. The focus should be on whether or not ligers are really wild or not. That is probably why some people still see the liger as a mythical animal because there has not been any documented. It has been shown and proven that the lion’s and tiger’s habitats do overlap. There has also been an animal who fit the description of ligers down through history that has persisted over a 1,000 years.
So, it is easy to see that there could be ligers out in the wild. Are there ligers out in the wild? Since there is no documentation to prove it thus far the answer is no. But, since lions and tigers can reproduce with each other in captivity it shows it is possible in the wild. Given that their habitats do overlap and so there is possibilities that a lion and tiger have met up in the wild. Though, it is seen as not very possible but it has been shown that it’s plausible. So, until one is documented ligers will continue to be seen as a creature of myth.