Meet the four cuddly cubs that may seem innocuous but represent a groundbreaking phenomenon in the big cat kingdom.
As the first-ever white ligers – offspring of a white male lion and a white female tiger – they’re the most extraordinary big cats.
The proud parents, a white lion named Ivory and a white tiger named Saraswati, are exceptional creatures, considering the global population of white lions stands at around 300, while white tigers hover around 1,200.
Their historic rendezvous at Myrtle Beach Safari in South Carolina led to the creation of the world’s inaugural white ligers.
Ligers are not completely unheard of – there are about 1,000 worldwide, primarily living in captivity. However, their unique white coloration sets these newborn cubs apart, a first among ligers.
At just six weeks old, these cubs – named Yeti, Odlin, Sampson, and Apollo – already exhibit distinct personalities and an impressive weight of 15 lbs, growing by roughly a pound daily.
Apollo, the smallest, displays house kitten-like mannerisms, while Yeti, the biggest, exhibits an assertive and attention-seeking disposition.
Yeti’s size has led Dr. Bhagavan Antle, the founder of the safari and the breeder of these cubs, to predict that Yeti could surpass the size of Hercules, their uncle and current holder of the Guinness World Record for the largest cat, standing at 922 lbs and 131 inches long.
“The cubs grow remarkably fast, but Yeti is already noticeably larger. It seems they double in size if I miss seeing them for a day. Yeti is poised to make a record, given his large head and paws,” says Dr. Antle.
These striking cubs have already started to draw visitors from all walks of life, their unique creamy coats being an unprecedented sight.
By the time they turn two, they’re projected to stand 10ft tall and weigh about 750 lbs, potentially exceeding 900 lbs at four years old.
Inheriting traits from both parents, these white-ligers will likely enjoy swimming – a common tiger trait – while also exhibiting the sociable nature typical of lions.
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