Apollo is a hybrid of a male lion and a female tiger – hence the name liger. Ligers differ from tigons – those born to a lioness and a male tiger – because they tend to grow much larger than their parents. They were so large that they were comparable to prehistoric saber-toothed tigers.
Both ligers and tigons have defects as a result of human intervention. It is usually to be born prematurely, living usually no more than 12 weeks old. Some live longer than 10 years (average life expectancy in the wild is 10-15 years, lions 10-12 years, in captivity more than 20 years) and often have some problems. problems such as neurological defects, arthritis, rickets, poor immune system, depression, inability to reproduce…
The history of crossbreeding between a lion and a tiger is recorded as early as the early 19th century in India. In fact, the two species of tiger and lion live separately in the wild, so their hybrid is only found in captivity. Currently, there are less than 1,000 ligers in the world.
Even among the hybrids of these two species, Apollo is still considered a rare individual. She and her three brethren are the world’s first white female ligers, born to a white male lion and a white tigress in December 2013.
Back then, Apollo was the youngest of four in his pack and according to his owner, he behaved more like a kitten than a tiger and lion, purring and always demanding to be petted.
The saber-toothed tiger was one of the most ferocious predators on Earth during the Ice Age, 3 million to 10,000 years ago in the Americas. Possessing a pair of fangs up to 25cm long and sharp claws, the saber-toothed tiger was a fear for many animals living in this period.
The saber-toothed tiger began to mark its extinction period around 10,000 BC. Currently, there are many theories put forward by scientists about the cause of the saber-toothed tiger’s extinction.
A part of scientists believe that the rise of prehistoric humans is the main reason. In addition, the end of the Ice Age narrowed the habitat, changed the vegetation and pushed the saber-toothed tiger to the brink of extinction.
References: Earthlymission; Sina; ZME