One tiger decided that a fearless goat was too cool to be his dinner. Instead, the two animals became the best of friends.
NBC News reports a Siberian tiger named Amur was expected to make quick work of a goat named Timur. Primorsky Safari Park officials provide the big cat with two live meals per week. Timur was supposed to be one of those meals…but no one told Timur.
As such, the goat had no interest in cooperating with predator/prey norms.
— RT (@RT_com) November 28, 2015
When placed in the enclosure with the much larger tiger, the goat immediately decided to show him who was in charge — by chasing Amur out of his own sleeping place. Bold Timur has slept in the enclosure for the last four nights; Amur sleeps on the enclosure’s roof.
Park officials are somewhat baffled, as the tiger has had no previous issues chasing and hunting other goats. They believe because this goat made it his business to be fearless in the face of certain death, it ultimately saved his life. In fact, the goat was named after a brave child character in a popular Russian children’s book. CBC writes that together they’re known as “the cautious Amur and the brave Timur.”
Despite his initial “bossy” antics, the goat lovingly follows his tiger pal everywhere. Meanwhile, the tiger is particularly protective of his goat friend. Park officials say that Amur will hiss at workers who get too close to Timur. That’s either really sweet or absolutely terrifying.
— euronews (@euronews) November 28, 2015
This turn of events is no doubt puzzling, but is it altogether unheard of? Not really. There are endless stories of unlikely animal friendships spanning the far reaches of the animal kingdom. Not only that, but there are a few famous instances of big cats taking helpless animals under their paw.
Here’s an amazing example of a lioness that opted to save a newborn wildebeest.
In the video, the narrator suggested the lion may have acted in this unusual manner for two reasons. The first was the utter lack of fear shown by the baby animal, which hadn’t learned that lions were anything to be scared of. The second was the very real possibility the lioness had recently lost her cubs. The baby’s “are you my mother?” behavior could have triggered the animal’s desire to mother.
The tiger and goat scenario is mostly different. Mostly. Remember, Timur didn’t behave like prey. Neither did the baby wildebeest. When prey doesn’t act like prey, what is it? The bizarre circumstances could force predators to try to find an explanation that fits, and then they behave accordingly.
Of course, not all of these scenarios involve big cats and their meals. Sometimes rival predators become friends. For instance, a lion, tiger, and bear are all best buds, leaving room for many a “Wizard of Oz” joke.
The three animals, who’ve been together for 12 years, formed their bond while very young. It certainly seems that many odd animal couples involve bonds formed when one or more of the animals is quite young. Also, these friendships seem to happen when competition for food and territory is left entirely off the table. This makes sense since a tiger and bear may compete for resources in the wild, making it very likely that these animals would be far less willing to be friends under different circumstances.
It’s just as likely that however realistic the safari park is meant to be, by regularly providing the tiger with food, even live food, a situation was created where the tiger could consider the goat as non-food. After all, a starving tiger in the wild will have less caution and consideration than a well-fed captive tiger.
What do you think of the tiger/goat friendship? Will it last forever? Share your thoughts and theories below!
[Image Via Screen Grab From safaripark25.TV @ YouTube]