Liliger - An Offspring of Lion & Liger

A liliger is an offspring of a male lion and a female liger (ligress). The world’s first liliger cub was born in Russia, when a female liger (ligress) successfully mated with a male lion. That liliger cub was born in Russia’s Novosibirsk Zoo in September 2012. The birth of the liliger cub was also a major development, because previously it was thought that ligers (A cross between male lion and a female tigress) are sterile and they cannot reproduce. The birth of the liliger has certainly proven that female ligers are fertile and they can easily breed just like normal big cats as well. Furthermore; the birth and the introduction of the liliger cub also included Russia, within the limelight of hybrid animals as well.

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World's first liliger cub was born in Russia with male lion and a female liger as its parents.
World's first Liliger cub was born in Russia. Its father was a male lion and its mother was a female liger. Liligers are second generation hybrids. Photo courtesy of  

The name of the world’s first liliger was Kiara the liliger. Kiara is a female liliger and she is still alive today. As a small cub; Kiara was very playful and very popular globally. Kiara has been at the center of media attention as well at the time of its birth. Currently; Kiara the liliger lives at Russia’s Novosibirsk Zoo. Her mother’s name is Zita the liger, and she also lives at Russia’s Novosibirsk Zoo. Zita the liger was born in 2004 and she is currently 12 years old. Kiara the liger is huge and she at least weighs around 500 to 600 pounds. Her father’s name is Sam the lion, who is an African lion. Sam the lion is around 8 years old and he also lives at Russia’s Novosibirsk Zoo. As of 2016, Kiara the liger is around 4 years old. Big cats reach the age of maturity, when they are around four years old.

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Kiara was world's first liliger cub. She was born in Russia's Novosibirsk Zoo.
The name of the world's first liliger cub was Kiara the liliger. She was a female liliger and she was born at Russia's Novosibirsk Zoo. Photo Courtesy of  

A liliger itself is a unique and a separate breed. A liliger is classified as a second-generation big cat hybrid. It has a tawny brown fur like that of a lion. Tawny brown fur is common in both lions and ligers, therefore; a liliger inherits its fur color from its color. But most interestingly; a liliger has spotted marks on its skin which are absent in both liger and a lion. Lion cubs have spots on their skin but they disappear as they grow old. However; as for liliger their spotted marks stay dark brown even when they grow old as well. The difference between a liger and a liliger is that, a liger has stripes on its fur while a liliger has spots. It is highly possible that a liliger will inherit its fur spots from its father i.e., the lion.

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A liliger has spots like jaguar or leopard on its fur.
A liliger has spots like that of a jaguar or a leopard on its fur. Else its fur color is same as that of a lion or a liger. Photo courtesy of  

Around the world there have been at least 4 known instances, when the liligers have born. The first instance was during 2012, when world’s first liliger cub Kiara was born in Russia. The second instance was again in Russia, when a litter of at least 3 liliger cubs was born in Russia’s Novosibirsk Zoo in 2013. Then during the same year, in December 2013, a litter of 3 liliger cubs was born at GW Zoo in Oklahoma USA. It is also believed that the world’s first male liliger cub was born in GW Zoo in United States. Onwards in 2015, a female liger in Russia’s Sochi province gave birth to a litter of 3 liliger cubs at a private zoo. Famously; these liliger cubs were fed milk by a female Labrador dog because their mother abandoned them.

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Liliger Cub born at Russia's Sochi province.
A litter of at least three liliger cubs was born in Russia's Sochi province in 2015. These liliger cubs were adopted by a female labrador dog and fed them her own milk. Photo courtesy of  

Overall; there has been at least 10 liliger cubs born since 2012. All of these liligers are still alive today and they are doing well at their respective zoos and animal sanctuaries. Russia is on the top spot with maximum numbers of liliger. According to the estimates from the news sources; at least 3 litters of liligers cubs have born in Russia and the total numbers of liliger cubs in Russia are around 7. USA is on the second spot which has around 3 reported liligers and all of them are born at G.W. Zoo in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, USA. So overall there has been 10 verified reports of liliger cubs from around the world with Russia and USA being the only countries to have liligers at their zoos/animal sanctuaries.

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World's first male liliger cub was born in USA's GW Zoo (also known as Wynnewood Zoo).
World's first male liliger cub was born in USA's GW Zoo which is also known as Wynnewood Zoo. All the liligers born in Russia are female liligers. Photo courtesy of  

A male liliger is different from female liliger in terms of its appearance, shape and size. As mentioned earlier, the world’s first liliger was born at G.W. Zoo. There is probably only one male liliger in the world. A male liliger has a mane around his neck like a lion which he inherits from its father i.e., the lion. However; some ligers also have manes around their necks as well. So, having a mane in male liliger is something which is common in between a lion and the ligers. Therefore; there are big chances that a male liliger will have mane around neck. Else the coloring of its fur, leopard like spots and facial markings are the key appearance features that are common in between male and female liligers.

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A male liliger has a mane around its neck.
Male liligers have mane around their necks. Manes are common in both male lions and in some male ligers as well. Therefore; chances are a male liliger will also have mane around its neck. Photo courtesy of  

When people learn about liligers, they always wonder who is bigger a liliger or a liger? The simplest answer is that the ligers are biggest of all the big cats and they are certainly bigger than the liligers as well. Many people do ask about the size of the liligers as compared to that of lions and tigers. Since the actual size of the liliger will be determined at the age of their maturity (4 years old), recent photographs shared from G.W Zoo in USA and from Novosibirsk Zoo, showed that liligers are bigger than lions and tigers. They were bigger in terms of their weight, their height and their lengths. Additionally; it can also be concluded that after ligers, the liligers might well be the second biggest cats in the world.

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A liliger is bigger than a lion or a tiger. They are only second to ligers.
A liliger is bigger than a lion or a tiger. However; they are not as big as the ligers. Photo courtesy of  

So; what’s the purpose of liligers? According to Joe Schreibvogel, the man who has raised liligers at G.W. Zoo, the core intention of the liligers is to educate and show the world about how hybridization works in animals? He believed that hybrid big cats are stronger than the normal big cats. They are stronger in terms of their strength, performance, genetics and even resistance against diseases as well. Novosibirsk Zoo from Russia also has the similar stance as they believe that one way or another, it contributes to the learning of the general animal species and also preservation & conservation of the big cats as well. Dr. Bhagavan Antle who has more than 40 years of experience with big cats believe that hybrid animals serve as brand ambassadors and they deliver a powerful message for the protection of the big cats.


Published Date:

Last Modified: February 21, 2017


Genre: Liliger, Liger, Lion, Tiger, Cross Breeding, Hybrid, Panthera

Copyright Holder: © Ligerworld - All Rights Reserved

Copyright Year: 2017

Liger Sources & References

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Joe Schreibvogel with a liliger at Wynnewood Zoo (also known as GW Zoo).
Joe Schreibvogel is the first man to successfully breed liligers in USA. Joe is a strong advocate of big cat hybrids. He has ligers and tiligers as well at its zoo. Photo courtesy of