EMOTIONAL & BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS IN HYBRID BIG CATS
As well as partial fertility and growth dysplasia, some hybrid big cats exhibit emotional or behavioural conflicts due to their mixed ancestry. They may also inherit different or mixed vocabularies (tigers "chuff", lions roar). Hybrids inherit different, sometimes conflicting, behavioural traits from the two parent species. A purebred mother may also become confused by her hybrid offspring's unusual behaviour. Lions rarely climb trees or play in water. A lioness who produced leopon (leopard x lioness) cubs was reportedly distressed by her offspring's tendency to climb trees and play in water. These traits were inherited from their leopard father. Tigons may also inherit a fascination with water to the distress or confusion of their lioness mother.
Ligers and tigons may exhibit conflicts between the social habits of the lion and the solitary habits of the tiger. Their lion heritage wants them to form prides, but their tiger heritage urges them to be intolerant of company. Opponents of deliberate hybridization say this causes confusion and depression for the animals, especially after sexual maturity. How much of their behaviour is due to conflicting instincts and how much is due to abnormal hormones or the stress of captive conditions is not fully known.
In second generation hybrids (ti-liger, ti-tigon, li-liger, li-tigon), the behavioural traits, as well as the conformation and markings, become closer to that of the species whose genes predominate. Other hybrids (jagulep/jagleop) and complext hybrids (lijagulep) are too rare, and have not been kept in natural enough conditions, for much to be known of emotional or behavioural conflicts.
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