Meet the Baby Liligers Born in a Russian Zoo

The cubs are three parts lion, one part tiger -- and 100% adorable

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Ilnar Salakhiev / AP

A month-old liliger cub walks in Novosibirsk Zoo. The cub's mother is Zita, a liger - half-lioness, half-tiger, and father is a lion, Sam.

In a scene from the 2004 movie Napoleon Dynamite, the idiosyncratic title character is sitting on the steps outside his high school sketching a creature called a liger. “What’s a liger?” his friend asks. “It’s pretty much my favorite animal. It’s like a lion and a tiger mixed… bred for its skills in magic,” he replies. And unlike unicorns, which are also pretty magical, ligers don’t exist only in movies and fairytales. While the mighty, mixed-breed cats are fairly rare, sightings have been documented as far back as the late 1700s.

Now there’s a new variation on the liger, dubbed the “liliger.” Born about a month ago at the Novosibirsk Zoo in Russia, three liliger cubs–the adorable offspring of a mother liger (half-lioness, half-tiger) and a father lion–are now old enough to prowl and explore on their own, reports the Associated Press. The new all-female brood is just the second litter of its kind. Their parents also produced the world’s first liliger at the same Russian zoo almost a year ago. The first few months for these cubs are crucial not only for them to learn coordination and strength, but also for the trainers to figure out their personalities so a suitable name can be given.

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