A private zoo keeper in Taiwan is being investigated by authorities after breeding a lion with a tiger and creating two liger cubs.
Huang Kuo-nan has insisted he did not mate the two animals on purpose: Breeding and crossing of rare protected animals is illegal in Taiwan, and if he is convicted, he could be fined around $1,500.
Huang created the country's first liger cubs after the mother, a Bengal tigress named Beauty, gave birth to triplets.
But only two of the youngsters survived. Like many hybrids, they lack the ability to reproduce.
The cubs, whose father is an African lion named Simba, are being hand-reared as the mother made no attempt to take care of them.
Huang said Simba and Beauty have lived in the same cage since they were both small. And the two started mating three years ago -- but this was the first pregnancy, he added.
"Usually when a lion and a tiger are kept together, they will for sure attack each other to death, but these two have been spending time together since they were small," Huang said.
The Liger earned fame for a discussion in the quirky film Napoleon Dynamite. The eponymous hero of the film described the creature as "pretty much my favorite animal. It's like a lion and a tiger mixed ... bred for its skills in magic."
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