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2 tigons born in southern China wildlife park
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Rare twin tigons, the offspring of a male tiger and a female lion, have survived their first 28 days since being born in a wildlife park in south China's Hainan Province, a park official announced Sunday.

The cubs were born in the Hainan Tropical Wildlife Park and Botanical Garden on Sept. 1, after the 106-day pregnancy of an African lioness.

The first tigons born in the island province, they are the offspring of Sha Sha the lioness and 4-year-old Manchurian tiger Guo Guo.

Tigons have features of both tigers and lions, with their heads usually resembling the mother and the body the father.

The tigons each weighed more than 1.5 kilograms and stood almost 30 centimeters tall, said He Zailin, director of the park's animal management department. They weighed 500 grams and stood no more than 20 centimeters at birth.

Tigons had a survival rate close to 1 in 500,000, said He.

He told Xinhua that the tigon is much rarer than the liger, a hybrid of a male lion and a tigress. "Because it's more dangerous for a lioness to give birth to babies than tigress, and the survival rate of tigons are much lower."

The twins were very healthy and the zoo was considering asking the public to suggest names, he said.

In China, tigons can also be seen in zoos in Shenzhen, a city of the southern Guangdong province and Xiamen, a city of east China's Fujian province.

(Xinhua News Agency September 27, 2009)

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