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Month-old liger riddled with genetic defects

2010/09/28 22:20:00

Taipei, Sept. 28 (CNA) A one-month-old liger -- a hybrid of atiger and lion -- being cared for at a protected wildlife shelter inthe southern Taiwan county of Pingtung has genetic defects thatjeopardize its survival, the shelter's manager said Tuesday.

The cub, the only survivor of three that were born Aug. 15 to atigress that was illegally mated with a lion at a privately runleisure farm in Tainan County, is currently in stable condition buthas suffered from a variety of symptoms, including fever andbreathing difficulties, over the course of its short life, accordingto Pei Jai-chyi.

The animal, a male, was ill when it was taken to the shelter runby National Pingtung University of Science and Technology one dayafter its birth, but later began to grow well, thanks toround-the-clock care by veterinarians at the shelter, Pei noted.

However, the cub, which now weighs 3 kg, displays obviousphysical defects caused by the cross-breeding, such as tail and spinedeformity, a rigid left rear leg, and immature lungs prone toinflammation, he said.

"Even if the cub continues to grow, it will always suffer painand inconvenience resulting from these genetic defects," Pei said.

He pointed out that the shelter has already spent a lot of energyand money to keep the cub alive and denounced the practice ofcross-breeding two different species, which he said is mostly onlyconducted to please the public at the expense of another livingcreature.

(By Kuo Chih-hsuan and Elizabeth Hsu)