Keepers at a Russian zoo who threw a billy goat named Timur into a Siberian tiger’s lair for the big cat’s lunch were astonished when the goat showed the cat who is boss. According to keepers at the zoo, three-year-old Amur the Siberian tiger, who gets live prey regularly and knows how to hunt, felt so intimidated by the fearlessness of Timur the goat that he preferred to go hungry and settle for friendship with his lunch.
The staff at the Far Eastern Safari Park in Russia were stunned to witness the extraordinary bravery of Timur the goat when he was thrown into the Siberian tiger’s lair as lunch. He stood his ground fearlessly when the tiger approached him.
Timur’s fearlessness convinced Amur the tiger that the goat was of sterner stuff. The tiger was happy to waive the rule of the normal relationship between big cats and their prey and accept an amicable settlement with his lunch instead.
The tiger only sniffed Timur and after that kept a respectful distance.
Astonished keepers at the zoo nicknamed the goat Timur — meaning iron — after witnessing his display of extraordinary bravery.
“We named the goat Timur — he was just a nameless prey at the point when he entered the cage — out of respect for his bravery,” a keeper told the Siberian Times.
After being cowed by his lunch, Amur the tiger now defers to Timur the goat in his own lair. And Timur has taken a step further to stamp his authority on the relationship and prove who is boss by taking over Amur the tiger’s shelter and bed.
The poor tiger has been forced to sleep outside in the cold after the goat expelled him and took over his shelter.
According to a keeper at the Far Eastern Safari Park in Shkotovsky, in the Primorsky region of eastern Russia, “The goat showed no inkling of fear, eyeballed the tiger, and took over his shelter.”
“Our tigers get live prey twice every week, and Amur knows very well how to hunt goats and rabbits,” the keeper added. “But recently he came across a goat that he refused to hunt.”
Images and videos of the goat and tiger taking friendly and playful walks together in the tiger’s enclosure have emerged online.
“It looks like they are friends. Timur the goat has taken Amur for a leader and follows him everywhere.”
Timur the goat trots obediently after Amur when they go for walks together in the tiger’s enclosure. But when it is time to decide who gets to use the shelter, Timur makes clear who is in charge.
Keepers believe that the bizarre friendship between tiger and goat was due to the fact that Timur had never met a tiger before and did not realize that goats should be afraid of tigers. And being used to seeing his prey tremble and cower in fear, Amur the tiger did not know what to make of the situation when the goat confronted him fearlessly.
He accessed the situation and decided that the brave goat was a different and special kind of goat deserving of respect and not meant to be prey.
“We think that the goat had never come across tigers and so didn’t know that he should have been scared of them,” the keeper explained further. “Amur the tiger is quite cautious by nature, and decided not to go to the trouble of hunting Timur.”
“Timur’s bravery and Amur’s cautiousness got them to this paradoxical situation.”
But it was not enough for Timur to convince a Siberian tiger that trying to have him for lunch may not be a wise idea. The plucky goat went on to throw the tiger out of his bed, forcing him to sleep outside in the cold during four consecutive nights.
“But the brave goat not only saved his own live. He also kicked the tiger out of his bedroom and is sleeping on Amur’s ‘bed’ for the fourth night.”
The Russian TASS news agency reports that after living with Timur the goat in his football pitch-sized enclosure for several days, Amur the tiger has developed an attachment to the goat and now tries to protect his friend from zookeepers.
Dmitry Mezenstev, a keeper at the zoo, told TASS, “Yesterday after having dinner, Amur waited for Timur to enter the shelter. He hissed at the keeper, warning him not to approach the goat.”
Mezenstev noted that Amur’s recent show of aggression towards his keepers is unusual.
But zookeepers believe that Taiga, Amur’s sister, would likely have attacked and killed Timur. According to the keepers, Taiga prowls her enclosure eyeing Timur as if waiting for a chance to pounce on the brave goat.
[Image via Appaloosa/Wikimedia Commons]