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Liger cub Tsar born in Russian touring zoo

A rare cross between a tiger and a lion has been born in a zoo that is touring Russia. It was being nurtured with milk from a neighboring goat.

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Liger, a lion-tiger cub, born in Russian zoo

The liger club is healthy and active, according to zoo officials. Tsar is being fed with milk from a goat at the zoo.

The breed is rare because the chances of a tiger having cubs with a lion are very slim. Many animal rights groups criticize breeders as cruel, given the breed's health problems and frequent deformities.

Ligers grow very big in size, often larger than both their parents. Hercules, the largest liger in the world, weighs 418 kilograms (920 pounds).

"The mother (tiger) was in heat but there were no tigers, and we saw that she was suffering (without a male tiger) so we decided to put her together with a lion. Because they lived next to each other for a long time before it worked," said Eric Airapetyan, director of the Samara Circus, which is currently touring and performing in Kamensk.

"You can't find them in the wild because one lives in Africa and the other in the jungle in the woods. It just happens in a zoo. I looked it up on the Internet. There are only 23 of them in the world."

As to why the zoo named the liger cub Tsar, Airapetyan said: "Since his father is Cesar and his mother is Princess we decided to call him Tzar."

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