Hercules is a 900-pound-heavy, 6-feet-tall and 12-feet-long liger who holds the Guinness World Record for the largest cat. Born from a lion father and tiger mother, Hercules grew into an impressive creature, able to run at speeds of up to 50 mph and eat 100 pounds of food in one sitting. Despite his gigantic size, Hercules is very tame and Dr. Bhagavan, one of the liger’s caretakers, says looking into his eyes is “like looking into God’s own eyes”. (Source)
Hello hello! Just passed by to tell you that the practice of breeding ligers (the result of a lion to a tigress, which Hercules would be) is extremely, extremely, but extremely extremely detrimental to their health and to the conservation efforts of both lions and tigers. God where do I even begin…
First things first, breeding a lion to a tiger is unnatural. As a result, the intentional breeding of the two big cats results into a hybrid that is crippled with tons of both genetic and neurological defects, certain types of cancer and arthritis (which are, in case you couldn’t tell, pretty painful to live with). They have a much shorter lifespan than both their parents and some even have incomplete DNA! There’s also this thing where the gene that inhibits growth in tigers is found in the male, and in lions in the female. Because ligers are the result of a female tiger and a male lion, the gene that switches off body growth at maturity is absent in ligers, and they just keep growing. The condition is called ”growth dysplasia”, and can in extreme cases result into death (since at a certain point the body simply grows too large to support itself).
In case of Hercules… this is him in motion. Note how labored his steps are. Note how he pants all the time. Doc Antle claims that he and ligers in general are ”bigger, stonger, faster and smarter”. Can you imagine Hercules running at the speed of a lion or a tiger with those tiny, genetically faulty legs? I know i can’t! And you know what makes ligers ~docile~ and ~tame~? Their general health! How else is an animal with such a poor condition going to maul their keepers? Trust me, it is not because that liger loves his keepers, as there have been many cases of ”pet” lions and tigers injuring and killing their own owners. A hybrid between those two should be able to do the same thing, right? If they’re healthy, that is…
That’s part one. So in short, ligers are unnatural and it takes human involvement to breed one. They’re crippled with genetic and neurological defects as well as a good amount of illnesses, and therefore the practice of breeding them is both #animal exploitation and #animal cruelty. An animal shouldn’t be sentenced to a life filled with pain and misery for human entertainment.
Now onto part two! Both the parent species of a liger- the lion and the tiger- are endangered. Officially, the lion is listed as ”vulnerable” by IUCN, and the tiger as ”endangered”- also by IUCN. There are about 21.000 lions left in the wild… and there are only just 3600 tigers left in the wild. The bomb of extinction is ticking especially for the tiger. What does this have to do with ligers? With such little tigers left (experts have given them 20 years), facilities that hold captive tigers should aim for breeding both healthy and genetically pure tigers (so not breeding say, a siberian tiger to a bengal tiger). to boost the numbers of tigers everywhere. But instead, here we can see T.I.G.E.R.S. (the facility that bred Hercules) waste what little is left of tigers to breeding ligers for human entertainment and NOT for conservation efforts! In a way, you can say that T.I.G.E.R.S. damages that same conservation efforts (and anyone else that breeds ligers, really). And honestly, tigers can’t afford that right now.
And lastly, part three. I’d like to add something special regarding T.I.G.E.R.S… If you care even just a little about big cats and other animals, please don’t support this place. This place is truly, extremely gross. First things first, they breed color mutated tigers (a video about this), they allow cub petting and pay to play schemes (another video about this) and they lie about all these issues, saying that they do, in fact, help conservation efforts! They are not a place to be if you even care a single bit about animals, really.
Personally, I am deeply disappointed in you sixpenceee. Honestly I am. You may not know this, but glorifying this blatant exploitation and cruelty contributes to all that’s been stated above. On top of that you have a huge amount of followers. How many of them will visit this place now, directly supporting the cruelty that goes on behind the scene? Therefore, I implore you, please reblog this for your followers to see. They, and everyone else, need to know the truth.