Ligers - History and Origin of Ligers


Finding out history and origin of ligers is a very complicated phenomenon. However; there are still some core insights which do reveal about their historical existence. Here we have divided history and origin of the ligers into two categories. First category traces history and origin of the ligers within captive ligers while the second category traces their history and origin within wild ligers. A lot of information and insights are available about history and origin of the captive ligers, while for wild ligers; all the insights are based upon mere suppositions. So let’s begin about the history and the origin of the captive ligers first.

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Liger History
History of the ligers can be categorized as i) History of the Ligers in Captivity ii) History of the ligers in the wild. We have history of the ligers in captivity but we do not have history of the ligers from the wild.  

The history and origin of the captive ligers can be traced from India during 1799, when a female Bengal Tigress was crossed with a male lion to produce 3 liger cubs. This program was initiated under the guidance of a British National in India and it is believed that these liger cubs were presented to Queen Victoria at that time. There is also a painting about these 3 liger cubs as well. So the country of origin for the captive ligers was India; and it was British who initiated this liger breeding program. India at that time was under the colonial influence of Great Britain.

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Liger History can be traced back to India during 1799.
The Historical Origin of the liger can be traced back during 18th Century in India. In 1799, first ever liger cubs were born in India. There is a painting as well about this liger cub in India too. Some sources suggests that there were at least 3 liger cubs born at that time. This picture belongs to  

Then onwards in 1824, 3 liger cubs were born at a Zoo in South Africa. This was believed to be the first birth of the liger cubs within some zoo. So if you are looking at the history of the captive ligers within Zoos, then Bloemfontein Zoo in South Africa was the first zoo to breed and display ligers during 1824. Even still at that point there was no evidence of the ligers within United States. Today USA has the largest numbers of ligers in the world and maximum numbers of liger zoos as well. Let’s explore history and origin of the ligers from USA and some other countries as well.

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Ligers History from Gir Forest is also very important for their origin.
It is specifically believed that in Gir Forest of India, Lions and tigers live together because of their overlapping territories. During the ancient times, both lions and tigers were in abundance. Therefore, there were a lot of chances that ligers would have produced at the Gir Forest of India. This picture belongs to  

The first ever liger in USA was born in 1948. It was a female liger and her name was Shasta the liger. Shasta is a very famous liger today because she is the only liger to live more than 24 years. In Korea the first ever liger cubs were born during 1992. Today Korea has only 1 liger at its Everland Zoo in Yongin, China. In Germany the first ever ligers in captivity were born around 1990. In China the history and origin of the captive ligers can be traced from the year 2002. Before that there weren’t any ligers in China. Similarly in Russia, the first ever liger were born during the year 2004. Currently there are reported to be ligers as well as Li-Ligers in Russia. The first ever Li-Ligers were also born in Russia.

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History of Liger at USA. Shasata the liger was first ever liger in USA.
The first ever liger in USA was born during 1948. It was Shasta the liger which was born at that time and she lived for record 24 years. Photo Courtesy of  

Let’s move on to the history of the ligers from the wild perspective and the source of information here comes from Singaporean literature. According to that literature a big cat like beast has terrorized the community for years and they described it as neither a lion nor a tiger but a mixture of both. If this literature is true, then we definitely have a point to describe the history of the wild liger originating from Singapore. Secondly India’s Gir forest is the only place in the world where the territories of the lions and tigers overlap. Some books available at Google Library have revealed that ligers roamed that places thousands of years ago. Currently there is no wild liger at the Gir Forest but this forest still has some territories which are shared both by the lions and tigers.

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Wild Liger History can be traced within Singaporean literature or at Gir forest of India.
Wild liger history can either be traced at Singaporean literature or at Gir Forest in India. 

So that was all about the historical origin of the ligers. About captive ligers it is very clear that their originating history was from India; whereas; about wild ligers Singapore and India are only such places where ligers had lived in the past. However; we believe that a lot of effort is still required in this regard to explore further about the presence of the wild ligers. Lions and tigers are living for millions of years and it is very likely that they would have shared their territories during these million years.

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Wild liger history and origin can be tracked at Gir forest or at Singapore.
Still a lot of research is needed to have a profound look at the history of the liger. Currently is just a supposed concept that a liger might have originated at Gir forest of India. The example from Singaporean literature does provide a core evidence of origin of wild ligers in USA. Photo Courtesy of