Birth of Adorable Liger Cubs Lands Zoo in Hot Water

liger cubs photo
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Photo via The Telegraph

If being adorable was a crime, these liger cubs would clearly be in a great deal of trouble -- but that's not why they were seized recently by authorities in Taiwan. In Taiwan's "World Snake King Education Farm" a lion and a tiger were apparently allowed to produce offspring without first getting governmental approval to permit the breeding -- grounds for having the animals relocated and the zoo fined. Officials from the zoo say they had no idea the two big cats were more than friends, saying, "The pregnancy of the tigress caught [us] totally unprepared."All told, three liger cubs were born at the zoo in Taiwan, but, sadly, one of them died a short while later. Hybrids of lions and tigers are actually quite uncommon; it is thought that there are only around 10 ligers that have managed to survive in the world.

It didn't take long, however, before Taiwanese authorities caught wind of the liger cubs. According to The Telegraph, in a matter of hours after they were born, the government seized the cubs and moved them to a wild animal refuge in another part of the country because the zoo didn't receive approval for the inter-species breeding.

But for the zoo's owner, Huang Kuo-nan, the lion-tiger coupling came as a bit of a surprise:

The lion and the tigress have been kept in the same cage since they were cubs more than six years ago, and nothing happened.

Kuo-nan faces fines of up to $1,500 for allowing the animals to produce offspring. Still, he hopes that in their new home "the two cubs can be taken good care of."