A Siberian tiger in a Russian animal park has taken on a new and rather unusual friend—one initially meant to be his dinner.
Visitors to the Far Eastern Safari Park in Russia’s maritime Primorsky region have been witness to quite a spectacular, albeit odd, performance in the last few weeks.
Twice each week the Park’s large carnivore residents get two live meals to encourage the animal’s to retain their natural behaviours, but last week during one of these sessions a Siberian tiger named Amur decided to spare his prey and instead, befriend it.
Once it was established that nobody was planning on eating anyone else, the two began curiously testing their new relationship. The goat was pretty assertive right from the start. On their first night together he spooked Amur from his own sleeping shelter, taking it for himself and ousting the tiger to the hut’s roof.
The two quickly became companions, with staffers naming the goat Timur for his bravery after a Communist children’s book character. Timur seems to have a knack for following Amur around his quarters, every now and then trying to pounce or startle the tiger. There are even YouTube videos of the pair romping about and Yesterday the park posted a 22-minute video compilation of the two set to classical music.
Amur’s keepers told The Siberian Times that though the predator still very much knows how to hunt, for some reason he chose not to kill one small goat put into his cage. ‘We think that the goat never came across tigers and no-one taught him to be scared of them.’
‘Amur the tiger is quite cautious by his nature [and] decided not to go to the trouble of hunting Timur.’
Whatever the precise reasons, the question now becomes what to do with this oddball couple. Park staffers have begun feeding Timur within the tiger’s enclosure, but it’s unclear what the long-term plan is.
There have been pleas, from visitors to the park and animal activists’, to separate the pair for the goat’s safety. They claim Timur deserves freedom, not the constant risk of death. But park staff says this could be a lot trickier than it sounds—and dangerous.
Amur’s become protective of the goat, even hissing and displaying aggression towards keepers when they’ve tried to approach Timur. The park has now reportedly given animals separate sleeping quarters, but is allowing them to frolic together during the day. They’ve also taken live goats off Amur’s menu.
So for now at least it seems the two will stay as is, much to the delight of their many fans’ worldwide. Who knows how long the pairing will last but it sure does make for a heartwarming tale, for now.