Are Ligers Being Intentionally Bred?

In Intentional breeding you take male lion and a female tiger and allow them to have breeding in a controlled environment. But did ligers always breed in this manner? The answer is no and let's take into account couple of facts to prove this answer. Currently there are no ligers in the wild. But they did exist in the wild once as there are many evidences and circumstances which specifically prove their existence. For example there are certain locations all around the world, where; lions and tigers' territories overlap with one another. Gir forest in India is one such example where tigers and lions share common territories. Even many references have quoted that ligers were part of this forest for ages. Similarly hundreds of years ago the lion and tiger territories would have also overlapped within Far-Eastern Asia as well. There is even an old story about a big cat in Singapore in which liger as a great beast is specifically mentioned. So Liger breeding is a natural process in the wild, it has happened before and it may happen again.

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Liger Breeding in the Wild is a Natural Process.
Liger Breeding in the wild is a Natural Phenomenon. There are many evidences which prove the possible breeding of the ligers in the wild. Photo Courtesy of  

But in Today's global world, are the ligers intentionally bred? The answer is again no. According to Dr. Bhagavan Antle, Ligers are not intentionally bred at all but rather their breeding takes place naturally. According to him he has lions and tigers together in large enclosures. Occasionally what happens is that one of the male liger and one of the female liger falls in love with one another and start mating. This romance results in a liger and that's how ligers are bred. Since it is a natural process as well, therefore; Dr. Bhagavan Antle truly believes that there is nothing wrong with the mating of lion and tigers and vice versa, as they are from same family of the big cats.

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Liger Breeding according to Dr. Bhagavan Antle is not intentional but rather it is natural.
Dr. Bhagavan Antle believes that Liger breeding is not intentional but rather it is a natural and romantic process. Since it doesn't harm the animals and offspring, therefore he totally supports breeding ligers. Photo Courtesy of 

On the other hand, some people are exploiting breeding of the big cats. This exploitation is always intentional. This business is backed by the greed of the individuals. People find it very luxurious to have exotic pets at home. Tigers, lions and ligers are part of it. Moreover; Ligers are sold much expensively as compared to the lions and tigers because they are very rare. So there is a a lot of intentional breeding of the big cats to produce ligers in such a case. So this argument very much proves that ligers are intentionally bred.

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Intentional Liger Breeding occurs when the motive is to earn profit.
Intentional Liger Breeding occurs when people consider liger breeding as a profitable scenario. Photo Courtesy of 

Therefore, the general conclusion of this article is that it all depends upon the intentions of the individuals. Dr. Bhagavan Antle who himself is a great liger expert believes that for him the presence of the liger serves as a brand ambassador phenomenon to create awareness for the conservation of the big cats. Therefore; in this case the ligers maybe bred intentional but the purpose and the cause is positive and great for breeding ligers.

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Liger breeding for big cat conservation.
However; sometimes ligers are intentionally bred for the purpose of a good cause such as conservation of the big cats. Photo Courtesy of 

Sources and References

BBC Documentary. (2007). The Last Lions of India. Copyrights of BBC The British Broadcasting Company.

Mott, M. (2010). Ligers make a “Dynamite” Leap into the limelight. National Geographic Kids.

Mitra, S. (2005). Gir Forest and the Saga of the Asiatic Lion. New Delhi: Indus Publishing Company.

Hoiberg, D. & Ramchandani, I. (2000). Students’ Britannica India. New Delhi: Popular Prakashan Publications.

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Liger Breeding References
Some good references for liger breeding. Photo Courtesy of