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Tigon debuts in E China wildlife park

(Xinhua)

14:29, February 29, 2012

NANJING, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- A newborn tigon was thrust into the spotlight in a wildlife park in eastern Jiangsu province Tuesday.

A pair of twin tigons and a lion cub, the offspring of a male tiger and a female lion, were born in Yancheng Safari Park of Changzhou city on Dec. 26, 2011. But the female tigon cub died soon after its birth, said a park official.

"The two-month-old male tigon cub is very healthy and the wildlife park is considering providing strictly nutritious foods and a 24-hour nursery for it," said Xu Tianci, manager of the park.

Tigons have features of both tigers and lions, and their head usually resembles the mother, while their body resembles the father.

The rare tigons have a low survival rate, close to 1 in 500,000. The tigon is much rarer than the liger, a hybrid of a male lion and a tigress, said Tian Xiuhua, director of China Wildlife Conservation Association.

Tian said that the survival rate of tigons is much lower because it's more dangerous for a lioness to give birth than it is for a tigress, and the cubs have gene defects.

In China, tigons can also be seen in Haikou, Hainan province, Shenzhen, Guangdong province, and Xiamen, Fujian province.

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