Tiger King star Joe Exotic wanted to bring back the extinct saber-toothed species by forcing his animals to mate across species.
His obsession with freakish ligers – tiger and lion hybrids – is known, but he also dreamt his breeding experiments would one day recreate the Ice Age predator.
The former zoo owner said: “I started out hybriding off of just the idea they all came from one cat – that was the saber-toothed tiger.
“So I built a little continent of my own here, put lions on one side and tigers on the other.
“And lo and behold they bred and that is how I got my first ligers. We are the first in America.”
The telly star also falsely claimed he worked with genetics experts at Texas A&M University, who backed his creepy plans to engineer the beasts.
He boasted: “We had been able to prove that hybrid animals are genetically stronger, they are healthier and live longer.
“In 40, 50 years from now hybrids are the only ones who are going to be able to withstand our climate change.”
But the real attraction for the 57-year-old big cat lover was that his breeds were not regulated by law and so were free from any government control.
He added in an upcoming documentary: “The good thing is that they are hybrids. They don’t fall under any laws.”
Exotic, who ran the GW Zoo in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, was arrested in 2018 on suspicion of plotting to kill his rival Carole Baskin.
In January 2019, he was sentenced to 22 years in prison after he was convicted of hiring a hitman.
He was also found guilty of falsifying wildlife records and nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act for killing five tigers and for selling tigers across state lines.
All episodes of Joe’s series Tiger King are available to stream on Netflix