Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park Breeds Nation's First 'Liligers'

Wednesday, December 25th 2013, 6:15 pm
By: News 9

GW Zoo has over 160 tigers and around 40 lions. When a lion and a tiger mate, that's a liger. But when a liger and a lion mate, that's a first.

"If it wasn't for these private breeders, nothing like this would ever happen," said GW Zoo owner, Joe Exotic.

Out in Wynnewood, there's a love story like never before.

"We started out putting a lion and tiger together since birth to see if they would produce," Joe said.

And they did. Meet Akaria, a female liger, the cross between a lion and a tiger. And meet her, I guess you could say, husband, Simba, a male lion.

"Each step takes four years because you have to let them grow up together. You can't just throw two adults together and expect them to enjoy each other," Joe said.

Simba and Akaria have been together since birth, and now, Joe Exotic and GW Zoo set a new record thanks to the happy couple.

"This will be a really cool learning experience for a lot of people to see what they will grow up to look like," Joe said.

Simba and Akaria created the nation's first ever Liligers, three Liliger cubs that are one quarter tiger and three quarters lion.

"It makes you feel good in every way especially since you can prove that they are healthy," said Joe. "At just four weeks old, these Liligers are pretty small, but when they grow up, based on genetics, they could be the largest cat ever seen."

"Once they're cross bred their epee gene disappears which will allow them to grow bigger," Joe said.

This birth has been ten years in the making. According to Joe, the vets have kept their paws off these Liligers.

"All of this is done natural, none of this is done with artificial anything. It's simply just letting them grow up together," Joe said.

"The Liligers will be available for public interaction at six weeks old, which would be about New Year's Day.

Track the cubs' progress.