The liger cubs are the offspring of an African lion named Simba and a Bengal tigress named Beauty. Three cubs were born, but only two survived. This incident could spell serious legal trouble for the zoo.
Breeding ligers is not only frowned upon, but illegal in Taiwan. Animal rights groups have called for strict punishment of Huang Kuo-nan, the owner of the zoo. It is very likely the cubs will be confiscated at the conclusion of the investigation by government authorities.
Crossbreeding of animals is looked down upon, in general, because it represents the worst parts of humanity’s interference in the natural lives of animals. But it is especially egregious when the animals being crossbred unnaturally are threatened species like the lion and the tiger.
Animals whose populations and habitat are dwindling shouldn’t be in zoos being crossbred with other species. It’s a slap in the face of conservation efforts.
Hybridization of animals is fetishized by many who view animals as worth little more than the entertainment they provide. There are many animals with portmanteau names like zorses and camas that have been bred in captivity, either purposefully or accidentally. These hybrids illuminate some of the worst ways in which humans use animals for entertainment. Instead of simply confining them to cages, we play god with their very genes, mixing and matching shapes and colors like we’re choosing an outfit to wear.
Ligers, unlike the majority of hybrids, are fertile and can continue to reproduce, creating more and more hybrids with absurd traits and even more absurd names. Ligers are like other hybrids, however, in their increased risk for health problems and shorter lifespans.
The ligers bred in Taiwan must be hand-raised by humans because their mother, Beauty, has no interest in taking care of them.
Huang Kuo-nan has denied he purposefully bred the ligers, although he admits to keeping Beauty and Simba together, knowing they were mating. It seems absurd to not think Beauty would end up pregnant eventually. Huang has also been in legal trouble for selling tiger bones and bear claws.
Whether or not Huang purposefully bred the liger cubs is a moot point. The crux of the issue is that zoos only benefit humans who want to be entertained by animals. They do not benefit the animals who are kept in captivity and subjected to ludicrous cross breeding for the amusement of humans. Zoos are unnatural places, where unnatural things happen, and we shouldn’t be surprised when news of this kind comes out of any zoo.
Boycott zoos, and let animals live their lives naturally without having their lives, habitats, or genes tampered with by people.