Girl with Tiger as et





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Uploaded on Mar 22, 2008

Lira the tiger-lion lives with her trainer. Not unusual in a circus! But how about living in a flat in a residential area of an eastern Russian city! Let's see how they manage.

She's cute and cuddly and lives in a flat in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg. But Lira is no average pet - she's a liger, the cub of a male lion and female tiger.

[Pavel Zabelkin, Animal Trainer]:
"She is undergoing special training so she gets used to communicating with people face to face and isn't frightened of anything, like the sounds of the street."

Lira's owner Pavel Zabelkin is an animal trainer.

His parents work in a circus and he hopes Lira will one day join them, although he admits there's still much work to do.

[Pavel Zabelkin, Animal Trainer]:
"If you let her off the leash she'll turn everything upside down and tear everything apart. She would jump on top of the table or the cooker, anywhere she can reach really."

Lira eats two kilos of fresh meat every day and several liters of milk. She already weighs 25 kilos and has to be kept on a lead or in a cage. She'll only be able to stay in the flat for another month and even the circus will have problems housing her.

Lions and tigers both have growth inhibiting genes that restrict the size of their offspring. Cross- breeding bypasses the inhibitor - the resulting cub can be twice the size of its parents, reaching lengths of around three and half meters.

[Pavel Zabelkin, Animal Trainer]:
"My neighbors have got used to her as they see her often. But people in the street are very interested and often ask if they can take a photo. Nobody is ever unhappy about her."

But animal experts are concerned about cross breeding. It's generally considered unhealthy practice.

Lira may be pulling in the crowds but many hope she may be the last of her kind.

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