A goat sent to a Russian safari park as live prey for a Siberian tiger has instead befriended the big cat and the two have become inseparable friends.
Amur the tiger and Timur the goat now sleep in the same enclosure in the Primorsky safari park outside the Pacific port city of Vladivostok, and the two eat and play together in the snow. They even head-butted each other for fun! Timur challenged Amur, poking him with his horns.
“The tiger accepted the goat’s challenge,” the safari park said. “He pushed his forehead against Timur’s horns, the friends butted heads for five seconds without coming to blows, after which Amur calmly went to bask in the sun on the hill.”
The story of the unusual friendship has touched hearts in Russia with the safari park releasing regular updates on the pair and planning to install webcams in their enclosure.
Staff at the park say the male tiger, who has been given live animals to hunt and eat twice a week for three years, did not touch the billy goat when it entered the enclosure last month because the goat did not show any fear. “No one had taught the goat to be afraid of tigers,” the park said in a statement.
The park staff realised the tiger would not touch the goat after the two had spent three days together. The goat now sleeps inside the shelter where the tiger previously slept, while the tiger spends the night on its roof! They meet up in the morning to walk around the spacious enclosure, with the goat usually following the tiger. Over the past few days, they have begun playing together and chasing each other.
The latest update is that Amur and Timur are ‘as friendly and happy as ever’.
Zoo chief Dmitry Mezentsev described the unlikely romance as nothing short of a miracle. “This is a sign from above,” Mezentsev said. “People, take a look at yourselves. There are wars everywhere”Ukraine, Syria”while such different animals can live together in peace,” he added.