According to Susan Bass of Tampa-based Big Cat Rescue — whose mission is to provide the best home they can for the cats in their care, end abuse of big cats in captivity and prevent extinction of big cats in the wild — interspecies breeding is not something that happens in the wild, because wild lions and tigers do not exist for the most part in the same areas of the world (except in India's Gir National Forest).
"It is done only in captivity by disreputable breeders to produce a freak, unnatural animal that naive people will pay to see because they don't know the cruelty behind the breeding," she says. "These cats suffer from many birth defects, and usually die young. Because ligers usually are larger than either parent, it also puts the tigress at great risk in carrying the young and may require cesarean section deliveries or kill her in the process."
While there definitely is a social idea that somehow ligers just aren't right, many wildlife preservationists and zoos that crossbreed these animals in captivity insist that ligers are full of energy; live a long life; aren't prone to disease; and that their large size doesn't put pressure on their bodies, as their bodies are made to take that pressure.
That ligers are sterile seems to be another myth. Ligers can reproduce with either lions or tigers, while female ligers reproduce much easier than male ligers. That being said, the potential for a liger to exist is totally a realistic thing given that there were 100,000 lions and 100,000 tigers that had some chance meetings. Their habitats overlap every bit as much as polar bears and grizzlies to make a "polarizzlie," and there are polar bear grizzly hybrids that have been shot in the wild that have been shown to be full-sized living adults.