Rare lion-tiger hybrid born in Russian zoo

A zoo keeper holding two-month-old liger cub Tsar in the town of Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, Russia, on Jan 26, 2017.
A zoo keeper holding two-month-old liger cub Tsar in the town of Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, Russia, on Jan 26, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

ROSTOV-ON-DON (AFP) - An extremely rare cross between a tiger and a lion has been born in a travelling zoo in southern Russia, one of only a few dozen of the animals believed to exist.

Named Tsar, the two-month-old liger cub is the offspring of a tigress Princess and lion Caesar, zoo director Erik Airapetyan told AFP.

"They have lived together for a long time and know each other well. When the tigress was in heat, she didn't have any other choice," he said.

The cub has the beige fur of a lion and the stripes of a tiger and is currently being fed on milk from one of the zoo's goats.

Ligers can grow to be the biggest cat in the animal kingdom, weighing more than 400kg.

A liger called Hercules in the United States is currently listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest feline in the world, at a weight of 418kg and measuring 3.33m in length.