The planet is full of unusual species, including hybrid animals. While most of these species are limited to mating with similar opposite-sexed specimens, under certain conditions, the crossing of two species leads to the birth of such hybrid animals.
What are the dangers of hybrid animals?
Strange animals exist all over the globe, from the blue tarantula to the immortal jellyfish. Hybridization is a rare phenomenon in the wild, but not impossible.
On the other hand, zoos and interbreeding institutes are more likely to have hybrid animals that would otherwise never come into contact with each other in the wild.
Read also: What is a wholphin, the hybrid animal in the oceans. From what different species did it result, what is the explanation
In the modern world, lions live almost exclusively on the African continent – except for a small population in India – while tigers’ habitat is exclusively in northern Asia.
However, the two felids mated and created two hybrid animals that should not normally exist: ligers and tigons.
What results from crossing lions with tigers
However, this mating occurred either purely by accident or as part of measures aimed at attracting tourists that turned into profitable businesses, such as those presented in the well-known documentary series “Tiger King”.
A liger is a hybrid resulting from the mating of a male lion with a female tiger, while a tigon is the cub of a male tiger and a lioness.
Ligers typically possess both lion and tiger characteristics, but may grow larger than both parents and may suffer from gigantism. Moreover, it is believed that this is generated by the lack of growth-limiting genes in the hybrid animal, as they are not transferred from the parents to the offspring.
“In hybrid animals, the risks of their genetics being messed with are much higher,” Luke Hunter, who heads the wild cat conservation organization Panthera, told National Geographic.
Hybrid animals that shouldn’t exist
While most hybrid forms are sterile, there are known cases of female ligers that have successfully mated with male lions resulting in a cub called a liliger.
Many consider the practice of breeding these hybrids totally inhumane because of the health problems these animals face.
“There is no legitimate excuse for bringing a tiger or a tiger into the world,” said Luke Dollar, program director at the National Geographic Society’s Big Cats Initiative.
“If we want to recognize and protect big cats as they exist in the wild, why would we experience these completely unnatural crossbreedings,” he added.
In the same vein, some groups argue that these hybrid animals take up space that could otherwise be used to conserve species that really need it.
For example, the black-footed wildcat, the most ferocious feline, despite its small size, could be a vulnerable species