A liger — an animal created by crossing a tiger with a lion — which is being cared for at a protected wildlife shelter in Pingtung County will soon turn two years old.
Nicknamed A-piao (阿彪), the animal is the only survivor of three liger cubs born on Aug. 15, 2010, to a tigress that was illegally mated with a lion at a privately run leisure farm in Tainan, the shelter’s manager Kurtis Pei (裴家騏) said.
The male cub has genetic defects, which cost the shelter NT$200,000 (US$6,668) per month to address, he said.
A-piao now weighs 90.85kg, up from the 680g he weighed when he was first adopted by the shelter, Pei said.
“He is in a good mood whenever he sees people around, but even when he is alone, he can be seen having a good time on his own,” said animal care technician Chen Mei-ting (陳美汀), adding that A-piao likes to play with a ball.
According to Pei, A-piao is currently in a stable condition, but suffers from various ailments, including an S-shaped spinal cord and a rigid, immovable left hind leg.
A CT scan of the cub in May this year showed that he has deformed ribs, which limit the space available for his lungs to expand, rendering him prone to respiratory illness, Pei said, adding that so far the shelter has spent more than NT$2 million to raise the liger.
Veterinary doctor Lee Fang-ju (李方儒) said that the two-year-old cross-bred animal is 20 years old in human terms.
Pei said the oldest known liger is 20 years old, adding that A-piao is expected to live until he is 10 years old.