Our world is quickly becoming a less magical place, many of the world’s most fascinating creatures are so rare they may one day seem to be pure mythology like unicorns and Pegasus. While the big cats of our world are becoming increasingly rare, the rarest of them all have been born at the T.I.G.E.R.S. Sanctuary in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Under the supervision of Bhagavan Antle, a litter of white liger cubs has been born to Saraswati, a resident white tiger, sired by the white lion Ivory, who also lives at the park. The litter produced four cubs: Yeti, Odin, Sampson, and Apollo. While exotic animal breeders have arranged matings to produce ligers and tigons elsewhere, these white liger cubs are the rarest of them all.
Ligers are hybrid cats, the result, of mating a male lion to a female tiger, something that doesn’t happen in the wild. Likewise, some breeders have worked to produce tigons, using a male tiger and a female lion. The offspring that result from these breeding experiments are sterile, cannot produce offspring of their own. This ensures that they will remain extremely rare. It is quite likely that the cubs bred at T.I.G.E.R.S. are the only white ligers in the world.
The little cubs have some pretty large footsteps to follow. The world’s largest cat, a liger named Hercules, is also a T.I.G.E.R.S. resident. Ligers and often attain sizes that their parent species cannot because their genetics do not include a gene that controls growth. Tigons, on the other hand, are often quite small in comparison because they get two copies of the growth limiting gene. Ivory and Saraswati’s babies could one day eclipse uncle Hercules’ 900-pound size. We will have to wait and see. For now, it’s enough to enjoy the regal beauty of their parents and marvel at the cubs, little unicorns that they are.