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Slideshow: Dog nurses rare liger cubs after tiger mother abandoned them

A Chinese zoo has released images and details of an unusual foster situation involving a small dog and two rare cubs born to a tiger mother and lion father.

Photo taken on 19 May of the dog which is nursing the two liger cubs.
Photo taken on 19 May of the dog which is nursing the two liger cubs.
Image: AP Photo/PA

A CHINESE ZOO official says two rare cubs born to a male lion and a female tiger are being nursed by a dog after they were abandoned by their mother.

Cong Wen of Xixiakou Wildlife Zoo in eastern China says four cubs called ligers were born to the lion and tiger earlier this month. She said Tuesday the tiger mother fed the ligers for four days but then abandoned them for unknown reasons. Two died of weakness.

Cong said staff at the zoo in Shandong province found a dog who had just given birth to feed the surviving cubs. She said the two cubs had trouble at first drinking milk from the dog but are now used to it.

Ligers are very rare and are sometimes bred in zoos by mistake.

Slideshow: Dog nurses rare liger cubs after tiger mother abandoned them
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  • Liger Cubs

    A zoo worker shows the two liger cubs off. Cong Wen of Xixiakou Wildlife Zoo in eastern China says four cubs were born to a female tiger and a male lion on 13 May. (AP Photo)
  • Liger Cubs

    Photo taken on 19 May 19, 2011, showing a zoo worker helping two liger cubs nurse to a dog which had just given birth at a zoo in Weihai in east China's Shandong province. (AP Photo)
  • Liger Cubs

    A worker helps a dog feed two liger cubs at the Xixiakou Wild Animal Preserve in Weihai city. (AP Photo)
  • Liger Cubs

    A female Siberian tiger, mother of the two liger cubs, is pictured at the Xixiakou Wild Animal Preserve in Weihai city on 19 May. (AP Photo)
  • Liger Cubs

    A male African lion, father of the two liger cubs, is pictured at the Xixiakou Wild Animal Preserve on 19 May 2011. (AP Photo)

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Text by AP

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