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National Zoo and Aquarium Tigon at National Zoo

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Simon Hampel, 19 Oct 2003.

  1. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Administrator Staff Member

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    When we visited the National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra a couple of weeks ago, we discovered they have a Tigon - a cross between a Tiger and a Lion.

    These animals never interbreed in the wild, so such crossbreeds are usually as a result of artificial insemination in a zoo or such. They are also usually infertile and have other genetic problems - which would indicate to me that this kind of thing isn't a good idea.

    Does anyone know how old the Tigon at the National Zoo is and where it came from ?

    Personally, it does make me quite angry that people feel compelled to experiment like this - just because you CAN do it, doesn't mean you SHOULD. There is no valid reason I can think of in the name of animal conservation to create such a creature.
     
  2. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    tigons and circus elephants....

    i believe the nationals zoo's tigon's are ex-circus cats taken in by the zoo, as is at least one other cat, a female not-quite-pure bengal tiger.

    speaking of which does anyone else absolutely hate circus'? and does anyone know how many elephants their are in australasian circus'? i know irwin has brenton bullen's 3 circus elephants there and i know of at least another 2 (the famous arna and the last of the ashton's girls) at another circus, but anyone know of any others?

    i just don't understand how the RSPCA can take away a neglected dog but not an elephant!!!!
     
  3. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Administrator Staff Member

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    Doesn't surprise me that the Tigon's would have been in a circus - typical "freak show" that circuses thrive on.

    Circuses are fine when the things on show are people ! Cirque du Soleil is amazing - and there are plenty of other human-only circus shows that are very entertaining and spectacular ... I don't see any valid reason to use live animals in circuses, and I get upset with the likes of "Siegfried & Roy" with their white tigers, doing stage acts supposedly in the name of conservation - I can't really see how their shows benefit conservation (I know it makes money which can help, but still there have to be better ways).
     
  4. Nigel

    Nigel Well-Known Member

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    circus

    Although I am a keen fan of good zoos , I wish that zoos that use exotic animals as part of their preformances should be closed down permanently . If they can show animal tricks with dogs , and use horses to prance around the ring with someone balanced on the horse , that is OK , providing that it is the sort of natural behaviour that one would expect the animal could do with training .. .... I also wonder about the methods that are used to teach animals

    But I am opposed to the use of elephants , bears , large cats and the likes
    I agree with Sims and Patricks comments . When the animals get too old to preform , they cannot integrate with other animals of their own species . And how many species of tigers are threatened ? A circus tiger is a wasted tiger

    I cannot comment about any camels in Australian zoos , but I sort of wonder about Cairos upbringing . Even though I am sorry that he is no longer around to give people a preformance on playing a duulah !
     
  5. Paul Scott

    Paul Scott Member

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    Hybrids

    I know that in the UK and at leat one other zoo in the US, they once housed tigers and lions if not together, then in connecting houses.
    Over the years they had a number of unfortunate hybrids. One of the most spectacular is Samson a liger who weighs over 600lbs and is over 11 feet long.
    Doing a bit of research I found that tigons (father is a tiger mother a lioness) are often dwarves. This is due to a lioness having a size inhibitor gene, due to natural multiple matings.
    However ligers (father a lion mother a lioness) are giants for the opposite reason. Male lion sperm have a gene for big babies to help make theirs the survivors in multiple matings. As the tigress doesn't have the "off" gene they grow and grow.
     
  6. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    mutant cats

    i have seen some photos on the net of rediculously big ligers. theres so many in private hands in the US. also not all hybrids are infertile, so you get people creating ti-tigons and the like. intersetingly you can hybridise any of the species of pathera big cats - any combo of leopard, jaguar, tiger and lion. i have even read of differnt orders of cats hybridizing, as has happend with elephants and certain dolphin species among others.

    i have read that there are no pure-bengal white tigers left in cativity. although i understand the argument against breeding them, they are beautiful animals (although not anymore beautiful than the natural colouration) and should pure bengal white tigers be found, it would be nice to see them integrated into a bengal breeding program. i see no problem with preserving the colouration provided it doesn't interfere with breeding pure tiger subspecies.

    this is the case with white lions.
     
  7. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Administrator Staff Member

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    Just thought I'd add a photo of the Tigon at the National Zoo and Aquarium to this thread (and to show off the new photo gallery features).

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Jarkari

    Jarkari Well-Known Member

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    The tigons at Canberra came from doug ashton of Ashtons Circus. They are brother and sister and would be pretty close to 22 or 23 by now, The cats names are Tangiere and Astor. It is now illegal in atleast NSW to purposely breed hybrid big cats. They are the most gorgeous cats, super affectionate, I have had the great pleasure of feeding the smaller one (the male) a chicken neck through the fence and giving him a rub on the back through the fence. They were hands raised at the circus and are very fond of people but the keepers will not go in with them.
     
  9. Zoo_Boy

    Zoo_Boy Well-Known Member

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    hay i did that to mate, and the zoo displays many signs around that exhibit about how wrong the hybrid is, they explain that they are still animals though, and they actually rescued them from being put down. they are 23 yrs old, older than lions and tigers, but keepers say they will be to 30 yrs when they slow down. its the same in small cats, the genetic defaults are breed out.
     
  10. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    i think they are interesting to look at (though i haven't seen them in life) because they give me an impression of what a long-extinct age-age big cat species might have looked like. who knows maybe the tigon is a close match for the ancestor of all pantherines?

    are hybrids morally wrong? well not really (some domestic livestock may indeed be hybrids of more than one ancestral species), but they certainly have no place in zoos and are created purely for our own curiosity.

    personally, i don't think they capture the beauty of either parent species, but they bizarre to look at, i must admit....
     
  11. Jarkari

    Jarkari Well-Known Member

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    Interetsingly the Tigons are able to talk to both the tiger in the cage next to them and the lions in neighbouring enclosures, something apparently only hybrids can do.
     
  12. Jarkari

    Jarkari Well-Known Member

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    Hey guys. has anyone heard anything about death's at the National zoo... I think Astor the tigon might have died... they are very old cats and he's no longer on the website.
     
  13. ZooPro

    ZooPro Well-Known Member

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    Last time I was there (November last year), the male was still there, but the female had died already. As far as I know, he's still around, at least he was still there in mid-January.
     
  14. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    though i am certainly repectful of the national zoo for taking in not only these hybrids but many other unwanted ex-circus cats as well, the fact that these tigons have died (are are close to) of old age means that the zoo can now use the enclosure for a program species like sumatran tigers or african lions. and thats a plus.

    the zoo is also hoping to secure an unrelated snow leopard and sun bear soon...
     
  15. Zoo_Boy

    Zoo_Boy Well-Known Member

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    when i was there i was told they were both approx 19 years, but were expected to reach 30 years, dyue to the fact they are hybrids, and this means some of the impurities that kill lions and tigers of old age at approx 23-25 means these 2 were expected to live many more years.
     
  16. MARK

    MARK Well-Known Member

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    You are correct Pat, the extra space can now be used to breed other endangered cats.
     
  17. Rayles

    Rayles Member

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    I think the most interesting thing about Tigons is the fact that if you breed a female tigon (the male is infertile) with either a lion or a tiger, that within about 3-4 generations (can't remember exactly), the cubs will be 100% genetically the species the tigon was bred to.
    It is nature's way of reversing something that shouldn't have happened.

    Rayles
     
  18. Nigel

    Nigel Well-Known Member

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    Tigons , white lions and other oddities

    taking on Rayles point , it mightnt be such a bad idea for Mogo to deal with feline oddities if they can breed themselves back to a proper animal .... (?)
    Rayles , thanks for that useful snippet of information . It was news to me
     
    Last edited: 17 Feb 2007