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MOSCOW, December 30. /TASS/. In the last weeks of the outgoing year - the Year of the Goat in the Chinese Zodiac - a black goat nicknamed Timur and Far Eastern (also called Siberian) tiger called Amur met in a safari park in Russia's Primorye Territory to instantly rocket to stardom in the national cyber space.
At the end of November the goat was brought to tiger Amur’s vast enclosure the size of a football pitch approximating wildlife environment as live prey. The park’s specialists explain this has to be done from time to time to ensure the tiger retains hunting habits. It is easy to imagine how surprised the park’s attendants were when the goat boldly confronted the huge cat head on showing no intention to step back an inch. The tiger had to retreat. Then, at a certain point the beast of prey for some reason displayed remarkable benevolence towards the unexpected guest. First, the tiger let the goat use his shelter to hide from rain and snow during the night. Then, in several days’ time the wild beast and the domesticated goat apparently developed what began to look pretty much like real friendship. They were repeatedly seen take long strides together, play tag and even have their meals side by side. They go to sleep away from each other, though. It looks like the goat has never had a bad experience with beats of prey and nobody has ever taught him to get scared of tigers. Timur boldly approaches Amur and even follows him wherever he goes - a sure sign he recognizes the tiger as the leader of the small pack.
The goat’s boldness promptly earned him a worthy name - Timur (literally meaning ‘iron’), also born by many historic personalities known for their valor and bravery. The tiger’s name - Amur - was borrowed from a nearby border river between Russia and China in Russia’s Far East.
The public at large took such immense interest in this unusual phenomenon that the safari park’s management has placed several web cameras around the enclosure, now peacefully shared by two mammals that in the usual natural environment would have been doomed to remain at the opposite ends of the food chain. The videos showing the unusual companions' daily routine are viewed hundreds of thousands of times every single day. At a certain point the safari park’s website even turned inaccessible, as too many visitors tried to enter it.
The animals have their own sponsors and caretakers, who voluntarily send donations to the safari park, whose director, Dmitry Mezentsev, has come up with an idea of using the popularity of Tiger Timur and Goat Amur for positive social advertising or making a touching cartoon for family viewings. Some have already decided that this theme is an excellent means of money-making. In the world web there has opened an on-line shop called Timur and Amur. Customers are ordering mugs, mirrors, keychains and magnets with images of the pair of unusual friends.
Just days ago, when the rouble slumped to an all-time low, some wits started telling this joke: "Listen man, the greenback is already up to 70 roubles!" - "Don’t care a bit. Better tell me how is Timur the Goat carrying on?"
The social networks are brimming with hundreds of rhymed comments dedicated to the newly-discovered celebrities of the animal kingdom. Bloggers are eager to share opinions as to how long the relationship may last and ponder over its lasting philosophical implications.
"Both animals are worthy of being sculptured. This kind of relationship between a potential hunter and his victim is really amazing and should be commemorated," says user Sergey leo77 on the forum of the Unknown Genius website.
"Sometimes it’s worth turning to mother nature to borrow good manners," says user Tamilla.
"People are fed up with bad news on TV - all those terror attacks, bomb blasts, calamities, hostilities in Ukraine and Syria, soaring prices and inflation, etc. Now all of a sudden there comes this extraordinary piece of news from the wildlife world, and the news is good! I reckon the people have experienced a mixture of feelings: surprise, excitement and curiosity, but I suspect that surprise is the strongest of all. Yet, some have already been making bets in the Internet when the tiger will eventually has the goat for lunch. Prophet Isaiah said about a future Paradise on Earth: "The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent's food." (Isaiah 65:25). When seeing biblical prophecies come true one by one these days one cannot but stop to think why shouldn’t this one materialize right away, too," says Natalya.
"Subconsciously each human being sees the relationship between these two animals as an ideal model of coexistence to be followed in this no simple world. In particular, now. Mother nature itself gives us a hint. In our minds this theme is instantly projected to relations between humans. We, people inhabiting the globe, have proved unable to co-exist in peace even in the 21st century. We, humans, are sometimes worse than animals," says Filmah.
The vice-president of the International Academy of Psychological Sciences, Yelena Shestopal, believes that over the past eighteen months to two years many developed the fear there may occur another terrorist attack or war, God forbid.
"The people are in dire need for simple emotions. We are desperate for simple, kind feelings. We are glad to see a tiger has not eaten a goat - in defiance of all laws of nature. And this extravagant situation puts us back on the track of normal behavior," Shestopal told TASS. "The tiger-goat idyll and society’s tremendous interest it has riveted is a very positive ending of this year. Our hearts aren’t hopelessly calloused yet."
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