- Oct 29, 2002
- Reaction score
- East of Suez
(Old Photograph restored)
Originally bred in India during 1910 when leopard fur was popular. Hybrid offspring proved to be sterile, but interestingly male leopons can successfully impregnate female liguars (male lion X female jaguar). The last of the leopons died in 1985, but a leopon skin and skull still remain at the British Museum donated between 1920-1940 from an animal bred at Kolhapur Zoo, India.
Leopons are the offspring of a male leopard and a lioness. They have been bred in zoos in India, Japan, Germany and Italy (this latter was more correctly a Lipard - offspring of a lion and leopardess). Karl Hagenbeck, who produced many different hybrids, recorded the birth of leopons at the Hamburg Tierpark in Germany, but none survived to maturity. A supposed leopard x lion hybrid was exhibited in Regent's Park Zoo, London. This was more leopard-like than lion-like apart from the rather square head and the large ears. There is also a report of a natural leopard/lioness mating where a lioness was expelled from her pride and formed an alliance with a male leopard. When the lioness came on heat, she was mated by the leopard and allegedly gave birth to leopon cubs. The Marozi is claimed to be a naturally occurring leopard/lion hybrid. However, H Scherren (1908) notes that wild leopard-lion hybrids were unlikely as an encounter between the two species would more likely result in the leopard's death.
Extracted from a significant article with several images: