Liger cubs born in Taiwan, Napoleon Dynamite rejoices, zoo keeper could face fines (VIDEO)

Liger cubs were born at a private zoo in Taiwan, but the illegal crossbreeding (lion and tigress) could result in the zoo keeper being fined around $1,500 for the birth of the ligers.

Huan Kuo-nan/Reuters
Two Liger cubs sleep inside a private zoo in Tainan, Taiwan, on Aug. 15. The zoo became the first in Taiwan to breed ligers, and the owner may face a fine for violating wildlife rules.

It's a happy day for Napoleon Dynamite.

Liger triplets were born to Bengal tigress, Beauty, and an African lion, Simba. Only two of the cubs survived, becoming Taiwan's first ligers.

Ligers are a hybrid cross between a male lion and a tigress and are the largest of all known cats. Napoleon Dynamite, a quirky teenager from the 2004 film, believed ligers were bred "for its skills in magic."


IN PICTURES: Hybrid animals

But some animal rights groups have criticized the zoo's owner for illegally crossbreeding two different species of protected animals.

"Cross-breeding two protected species is completely against nature. We are urging the Council of Agriculture (COA) to seize the two cubs immediately and bring Huang to real justice. A fine of NT$50,000 [around $1,500] is a mere slap on the wrist, " Lin Tai-jing, a researcher for Environmental and Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) told the Taiwan News.

Huang Kuo-nan, owner of the World Snake King Education Farm in Tainan County, insists he did not mate the two animals on purpose.

"Usually when a lion and a tiger are kept together, they will for sure attack each other to death, but these two have been spending time together since they were small," Huang said.

Beauty and Simba have been mating for three years, but this was their first pregnancy.

Ligers are among an array of hybrid animals in the world.

Tigons are a crossbreed between a male tiger and a lioness.

Zorses, Zonkeys, and Zony's are crossbreeds between zebras and horses, donkeys, and ponies - all three are also known as Zebroids.

Camas are a hybrid of a camel and llama. Grolars and Pizzlies are mixes between polar bears and grizzly bears. Leopons are a result of a male leopard and a female lion.

Wolphins, a very rare crossbreed, are a hybrid of a Bottlenose dolphin and a false killer whale. There are only two wolphins in captivity. They live at the Sea Life Park in Hawaii.

Hybrid animals mostly exist in captivity and are the result of human intervention.

Taiwan's baby ligers will be hand-reared since Beauty, their mother, has made no attempt to take care of them. A video feed from The Telegraph shows the two cubs resting in their basket, being tended to by vets and zoo keepers.


IN PICTURES: Hybrid animals

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