A Siberian tiger has eschewed advise to refrain from playing with its food, instead befriending it and letting it sleep in his bed.
Timur the goat was a live tribute for Amur, a Siberian tiger living in the Far Eastern Safari Park, in Russia’s Primorsky region.
Back then, Timur didn’t even have a name, which probably had something to do with the fact he wasn’t expected to last 10 minutes confined in a cage with a big hungry cat.
Twice a week, rangers at the safari park serve up a live meal, which frequently consists of rabbit or goat, but unlike the others, Timur was determined to survive.
When the goat was released into the enclosure, Amur refused to hunt him, despite the smaller animal’s swift move to kick him from his bed – Amur now sleeps on the roof of his shelter, while Timur relaxes inside.
“Nobody taught the goat to be afraid of the tiger. So, Amur decided not to mess with the fearless goat, and didn’t eat it,” a translated post from the park’s website read, RT reported.
“During the day, Amur and Timur walk together like a pair of good friends. Timur takes Amur for an alpha male, and follows it everywhere.
“Timur’s fearlessness and [Amur’s] caution have led to such a paradoxical result.”
Just a few days after meeting, the unlikely pair have become inseparable.
Timur is being fed wheat, hay, feedstuff and water every day.
Park staff, inspired by the goat’s brave antics, named him after a courageous kid from a popular Communist-era children’s book, “a fitting name for such a fearless animal”, NBC News reported.
Calls to separate hunter from prey
But not everyone thinks the odd coupling should be allowed.
Timur’s fans have called on the zoo to separate them, and some visitors to the zoo’s website have left messages calling the goat “sensational” and saying “he has earned the right to live”, RT reported.
One visitor, Bogdan, wrote: “Let his story be not only about the compassion the tiger showed towards the brave goat, but about people showing humanism too”.
Separating the two might be difficult, with Amur showing a protective attitude towards his new friend.
“[Amur] hissed at an employee who feeds the tigers, as if to tell him, ‘Hey, don’t you ever approach my friend’,” a keeper said, according to RT.
“Before that, he never showed any aggression towards staff.”
See a video of the goat and tiger hanging out below
– with ABC