Tigon is the hybrid offspring of a male tiger (Panthera tigris) and a female lion (Panther aleo). It has parents of a similar genus but different species. The pairing, often by portmanteau, of a male lion with a female tiger is called a liger.
The tigon’s genome contains both parents’ genetic components, therefore making the tigon able to exhibit both parents’ features. They can have both mother spots (lions bear genes for spots – lion cubs are spotted and some adults maintain faint markings) and father stripes.
Any mane that a male tigon may acquire would appear shorter and less apparent than a lion’s mane and look similar to a male tiger’s ruff in form. The fact that tigons are smaller than lions or tigers is a common misconception.
They do not surpass the size of their parents’ species because they inherit both parents’ growth-inhibitory genes. Nonetheless, they do not display dwarfism or miniaturization of any kind, and they mostly weigh about 180 kilograms.
In 1943, a 15-year-old hybrid between a lion and an “Island” tiger was successfully mated with a lion at the Munich Hellabrunn Zoo. The female cub was raised to adulthood, despite its delicate fitness. However, Guggisberg wrote that ligers and tigons were long believed to be sterile.
A tigoness named Rudhrani, born in 1971 was successfully mated to a male Asian lion named Debabrata at the Alipore Zoo in India. The unusual second-generation hybrid was known as a litigon.
Rudhraniproduced about seven litigons during its lifetime. The litigon called Cubanacan weighed at least 363 kilograms (800 lb), stood 1.32 meters (4.3 ft) at the hip, and was 3.5 meters (11 ft) in total length, some of which achieved impressive heights.
There are also accounts of the comparable titigon, which is the cross between a female tigon and a male tiger. Titigons resemble golden tigers, except in their markings, with less contrast.
A tigoness, born in 1978, named Noelle, shared an enclosure with a male Siberian tiger named Anton in the Shambala Preserve. This led to the assumption of the keepers that she was sterile.
Noelle generated a titigon named Nathaniel in 1983. Since Nathaniel was three-quarters of a tiger, he had darker markings than Noelle, and he vocalized more like a tiger than his mother’s blend of sounds. Nathaniel, being only around a quarter-lion, didn’t grow a mane.
At the age of eight or nine, Nathaniel died of cancer. Noelle also developed severe cancer that she gave up the ghost not long after she was diagnosed.
Co-existences of parents
Tigons are only found in captivity or zoos just like ligers since the lion and tiger habitats do not exist side-by-side. However, In the past, the Asian lion coexisted with the Bengal tiger in India’s wilderness.
They also exist in countries where the Caspian tiger lived, such as Iran and Turkey. There is a proposal to move some lions from their current home of the Gir forest in India to the Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, which has some tigers.
However, this was not implemented as of December 2017, possibly due to political reasons lion is not allowed in another state forest in Gujrat state.