Here’s something you don’t see everyday: Liger cubs being lovingly nursed by their adoptive caretaker, a black dog.
Yes, we said “ligers” — a hybrid species created when a male lion and a female tigress mate in captivity — not to be confused with a tiglon (male tiger, female lion mix). Ligers are not mythical creatures bred for their “skills in magic,” as Napoleon Dynamite would say. But they are adorable, and these cubs are definitely on their way to becoming NewsFeed’s new favorite animals.
Ligers are extremely rare, with only 20 believed to exist in the world, according to Chinese state television. Of the litter of four, which were born on May 13 to an African lion and a Manchurian tiger, only one male and one female cub survived.
A few days after the birth, the tiger mother abandoned the cubs. Luckily, a canine mom was more than happy to step in, lending her milk to the hungry orphans.
A spokesperson for the Xixiakou Wildlife Zoo told the Associated Press that after some initial problems, the cubs are now thriving on the milk from their stepmom — at least for now. Ligers are known to be the largest feline species in the world, and therefore will likely outgrow their canine surrogate quickly. But zoo staff says that the babies are growing healthier every day, all thanks to their unlikely adoptive mom.