Dog nurses ligers after tiger mum refuses

23:45, May 24 2011
A dog nurses two liger cubs at a zoo in Weihai in east China's Shandong province.
DOG ON IT: A dog nurses two liger cubs at a zoo in Weihai in east China's Shandong province.
A zoo worker helps two liger cubs nurse to a dog which had just given birth at a zoo in Weihai in east China's Shandong province.
UNIQUE ATTACHMENT: A zoo worker helps two liger cubs nurse to a dog which had just given birth at a zoo in Weihai in east China's Shandong province.
A zoo worker shows the two liger cubs at a zoo in Weihai in east China's Shandong province that are now being nursed by a dog.
DOUBLE SHOT: A zoo worker shows the two liger cubs at a zoo in Weihai in east China's Shandong province that are now being nursed by a dog.
The Manchurian tiger named Hua Hua, who gave birth to four liger cubs at a zoo in Weihai in east China's Shandong province.
MUM: The Manchurian tiger named Hua Hua, who gave birth to four liger cubs at a zoo in Weihai in east China's Shandong province. The tiger mom fed the ligers for four days then for unknown reasons abandoned them. Chinese zoo workers brought in a dog to nurse them instead, but two died of weakness.

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 yesterday (NZ time) 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.

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AP