It's illegal to breed rare, protected animals in Taiwan, but zookeeper Huang Kuo-nan maintains that these feline lovers mated on their own.
So why are these baby ligers so controversial? Scientists and activists say that breeding hybrids shows a disregard for animal welfare and, moreover, is simply not what Mother Nature intended.
"We disagree [with] any kind of breeding program, including hybridization or intensive inbreeding, which aims only to create individuals for human attraction, especially those [that] will not exist in the natural world," Kurtis Jai-Chyi, the director of the Pingtung Rescue Center for Endangered Wild Animals at National Pingtung University of Science and Technology in Taiwan, where the ligers are being held, said in an e-mail to AOL News.
Certain animal hybrids, like the pizzly bear (a cross between a polar bear and a grizzly bear), have been known to occur in nature, but the liger is not one of them. While lions and tigers may historically have been friendly neighbors, today their geographic ranges do not even overlap.
In captivity, lions and tigers will occasionally mate, producing either ligers or tigons (hybrids of female lions and male tigers). But most liger cubs bred in captivity never make it to adulthood -- the two Taiwanese cubs had a third sibling that died soon after birth.
The ones that do survive are usually sterile, though not always. While ligers cannot successfully mate with other ligers, they can sometimes mate with lions or tigers, producing li-ligers and ti-ligers.
Despite the reproductive hurdles, humans have been breeding ligers for centuries, but not for their skills in magic, contrary to what "Napoleon Dynamite" might lead one to believe. The first known liger cubs were owned by a British animal dealer in 1824 and were presented to King George IV, who creatively dubbed them "lion-tigers."
As zoo attractions, ligers certainly have a lot going for them. Not only are they bigger than either of their parents, but they are the largest living cats. The heaviest liger, Hercules, weighs 900 pounds and eats about 100 pounds of meat a day.
There is some variety in liger appearance, but most of them look like lightly striped lions. Tigons, on the other hand, are smaller and tend to resemble tigers.
There is currently no ban on breeding ligers in the United States, and a few of these beasts live in animal preserves, like The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S.) in South Carolina. The institute's director, Bhagavan Antle, said that the liger is anything but a depraved biological aberration. In fact, it inspires awe.
"I believe the liger is an important character. It stimulates concern and understanding about the natural world for people who may not have it," said Antle. "Ligers often resonate with those people."
So should we be concerned about the morality of breeding these hybrid felines? Luke Hunter, a wild cat biologist and executive director of Panthera, an organization devoted to conserving wild cats, said that perhaps we should be directing our energy elsewhere.
"The focus on cats in captivity is mostly a distraction," said Hunter. "Ligers really don't matter so much, but their wild progenitors really do, and we're losing them."