In a story seemingly out of a feel-good animated film, a 3-year-old Siberian tiger living at Russia’s Primorsky Safari Park has forged an unlikely friendship with his would-be lunch, a male goat. The pair have become nearly inseparable since the goat was first offered to the tiger as one of his bi-weekly live meals a few weeks ago.
The tiger’s name is “Amur,” which, translated from the Russian website of the Primorsky Safari Park to English, means “Cupid” — not to be confused with the Amur Tiger, an endangered species to which Cupid belongs — and, as previously reported by the Inquisitr, the goat’s name is Timur, after a brave character in a popular Russian children’s book.
When the goat was first introduced into Cupid’s pen at the safari park, officials were expecting to happen what usually would have — for the tiger to feast on the goat, as Cupid was no stranger to making meals out of billy goats — but it seemed that Timur was having none of it. Rather than run away in fear, as most prey would, the goat stood his ground, which, park officials say, is likely what saved his life, according to a released statement.
“No one had taught the goat to be afraid of tigers.”
in an interview with Agence France-Presse, Zoo chief Dmitry Mezentsev, who avidly studies tigers and leopards, believes that the unlikely friendship between the tiger and the goat should teach the world a lesson we seem to be having a hard time learning these days.
“This is a sign from above. People, take a look at yourselves. There are wars everywhere — Ukraine, Syria. While such different animals can live together in peace.”
But the ultimate question is, can this unlikely bromance between Cupid, the meat-eating Siberian tiger, and Timur, the vegetarian billy goat, actually last? Some animal experts are saying no, it can’t. While the obviously unique friendship is sweet, and heart-warming, and should make us all rethink the ways of the world we live in, the truth of the matter is that Cupid is still a tiger, and sadly, Timur is still a meal, says Rostislav Shilo head of Novosibirsk Zoo, reports RT.com — an English-language Russian television news network.
“There is an 80-85 percent chance that he [the tiger] will eat the goat.”
At this point however, Cupid has continuously resisted the urge to eat Timur, even when the goat playfully challenges him to a headbutting contest, as happened earlier this week. The goat pushed his horns against the tiger’s forehead in a playfully challenging way, like goats typically do with one another, and Cupid accepted the challenge, butting heads with Timur for a few seconds, before turning around to go bask in the sun on a hill in his enclosure.
To help sway the tiger’s urge to eat the goat, park officials have been feeding him live rabbits for lunch, instead of goats, “out of respect for the goat,” says Mezentsev, and so far at least, it seems to be working. The pair are the best of friends, walking the park together with the goat usually trailing behind the tiger, and have just recently begun to play together, and chase one another around the enclosure. The goat even stole the tiger’s bed, forcing Cupid out of his shelter, and onto its roof, where the tiger now spends his nights. The BFFs meet up in the morning to start their day together. Park officials are even planning on installing webcams in the enclosure, to allow people from around the world to watch the unlikely friends.
While it remains to be seen whether Shilo’s prediction will come true, for now, we can enjoy watching what happens when a tiger and a goat, two wholly different species of animal, set aside their differences in the name of friendship.
[Image via Primorsky Safari Park]