Some Special Hybrid
The big cat species addressed in these regulations are the lion, tiger, leopard, snow leopard, clouded leopard, cheetah, jaguar, cougar, and any hybrid combination any of these species(liger,tigon,etc) that results from breeding of these big cats.
Four of the five species of the big cats (the Panthera genus – lion, tiger, leopard, jaguar and snow leopard), the exception being the snow leopard can hybridize with each other to produce numerous hybrids. In fact, breeding of two different pantheras has been banned in many zoos and animal sanctuaries due to no conservation value of the hybrid, and the risk it poses on the mother that gives birth to it. For instance, the liger’s increased growth rate and enormous size can cause the tigress giving birth to have a difficult delivery, endangering both the mother and her liger cubs, which may be born prematurely or require a Caesarian. Common problems in cubs that survive are neurological disorders, obesity, genetic defects, and a shortened lifespan; though a few have reportedly made it to their twenties, many don’t survive past the age of seven. Moreover, male ligers have lowered testosterone levels and sperm counts, rendering them infertile while females, though capable of reproducing with either a lion or a tiger, often give birth to sickly cubs that don’t survive.
However, hybrids do occur by accident in captivity.
Most hybrids would not survive in the wild due to the males being infertile, but a few (such as the Leopon – leopard father, lion mother) are fertile and have a chance of survival in the wild.
Here are the list of possible hybrid big cats (and some other smaller felines).
Father: Lion, Mother: Tiger.
Ligers enjoy swimming, which is a characteristic of tigers, and are very sociable like lions. Ligers (and tigons) exist only in captivity because the habitats of the parental species do not overlap in the wild. Historically, when the Asiatic Lion was prolific, the territories of lions and tigers did overlap and there are legends of ligers existing in the wild.
Father: Tiger, Mother: Lion
Alternative names: tion, tigron, tiglon
Tawny, golden and white forms. A tigon is often smaller than either a lion or tiger though some have attained or exceeded the size of the smaller parent.
Father: Leopard, Mother: Lion
Alternative names: Leoliger, Leogar, Leopon
The male leopon is a fertile offspring of a male leopard and a female lion. The fertile female liguar, offspring of a male lion and female jaguar, is capable of fertilization by a leopon. Their mating, though rare, results in a leoligular.