A Siberian tiger surprised the world when he was brought a goat for lunch. Instead of following his instincts, hunting and eating it, the merciful tiger decided the goat should be his best buddy and ‘roommate’ instead.
Timur the goat and Amur the tiger have been living together since in one enclosure - the size of a football pitch - at their safari park in Russia’s Far East. For two months, they have been eating and promenading together ,and the goat has even taken over the feline’s bed. Usually Timur follows Amur as his leader.
According to the park’s director, the tigers are given live pray twice a week, and though the three-year-old tiger Amur normally enjoys hunting goats and rabbits, he chose not to eat Timur, as he “found the goat brave”. What’s more, the predator even started protecting his goat friend from the park keepers.
The unusual friendship sparked public attention with the zoo publishing daily online reports. People all across Russia were willing to donate money for the pals. Following numerous requests of internet users the park installed webcams in the enclosure so that the audience could see what the animal friends are up to.
According to the Far East Safari Park director, on December 9, Timur challenged Amur to trial of strength. The goat "pointed his horns at the tiger, and the latter accepted the challenge by pressing his forehead against the goat’s horns. They were butting for five seconds and then the tiger left on to lie in the sun."
Zoo staff reported yet another curious story. Amur the tiger attempted to take shelter from the snow but the stubborn goat Timur came first and the tiger retreated as the goat took his place.
Though experts warned the tiger might hurt or even kill his goat friend Timur, perhaps accidentally while playing, the two continued to spend time together safely. “Even if he wounds the goat, his hunting instinct may come later," famous circus trainer Edgard Zapashny said, adding, however, that Amur and Timur may remain friends until one of them dies from natural causes.
Trending tiger, sharing goat
In December Amur the tiger and Timur the goat became even more famous when pages on popular Russian social networking sites were registered to publish daily news about the animal friends with photos and videos. The two friends also have a page on the zoo’s site, collecting recent jokes about the couple. Moreover, an online shop was set up selling T-shirts, mugs, plates and magnets bearing their images.
Source of inspiration
The famous friendship even inspired the park’s director to propose to the Russian Ministry of Culture to make an animated film about Amur and Timur for children. The safari park was ready to help the film-making process and start a wide-ranging fundraising campaign. The ministry said it would consider the offer, while some experts expressed doubt that the goat and the tiger would be alive by the time the film hits the screens.
Two months into their touching relationship the park administration decided to separate Timur and Amur. The zoo’s director, Dmitry Mezentsev said the goat had gained some 20 kilograms since joining the tiger in his enclosure. Two reasons for that - to carry out Timur’s veterinary checks and to keep him safe from possible changes in the male tiger’s behavior as Amur’s sister and neighbor Taiga was entering mating season.