Kruger National Park adds the Liger to its family

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Kruger National Park officials, working with leading taxonomical and zoology experts, confirmed weeks of media speculation this morning with the announcement that a Nepalese Liger has been spotted in the park.Though it is still unclear how or why this particular big cat has migrated to the tropical Northern Kruger area, several witnesses have corroborated sightings around Parfuri Camp. SANParks spokesperson Wanda Mkutshulwa stated this morning, "We are thrilled and intrigued to announce this strange arrival at our park."The Liger is the largest known cat in the world. An Asiatic feline, bred between a male lion and a female tigress, it is reared only in captivity. Halford Ginley, taxonomist and on-call specialist to the Kruger Park at large, said last Monday, "this is incredibly uncommon, but from what video footage we've seen of the cat, its size and colouring leave very little up to dispute. It has an extremely large cranium, but more important to this particular case is the prominent striping . Liger breeds have the definitive torso and forehead stripes, but on a tawny coat of lion fur."The obvious issue with the migration of a Liger into the tropical climes of the Northern Kruger is the glaring lack of Tigers in the South African veld. "We have no solid clues whatsoever how this cat manifested near Parfuri as it has," commented Ginley. "Lion migration has been noted over the years to take place over extremely large distances. Imports of Tigers into the Karoo area, as well as others, for wildlife parks and zoos, could also be a factor in this. A similar incident took place at Moorook National Park, in Australia in 1993 - reports of a giant cat resulted in the capture of a 320 kg Liger near the Murray River. Inquiry into the matter found that "Lucille" was the offspring of a renegade park lion and a tigress from a zoo up North.""North and central African zoos have, in the past three years, undergone massive security upgrades in order to prevent escapes of their larger animals. This being said, Congolese zoos have had to track and recapture escaped tigers twice since 2008. This is all just conjecture, though - what we have with Parfuri is nothing short of miraculous."Mkutshulwa said that park rangers have set out to tranquilise and examine the cat, in hopes of learning how it got there. "We will have answers to this mystery soon." This could mark the beginning of the Big Six for the Kruger, and an entirely unique safari experience.

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