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Now Amur the tiger teaches his friend Timur the goat how to hunt

By Olga Gertcyck
04 December 2015

Safari park odd couple get even closer as big cat tries to train his unlikely friend how to catch prey.

Timur - whose bravery won praise from around the world - is becoming nervous when he is not alongside his big cat protector. Picture: Dmitry Mezentsev

The friendship between the two animals has surprised not only keepers in the Russian Far East but much of the world. The goat was intended as the tiger's lunch but instead they became best mates. While they live in adjoining cages, they spend their days together strolling in the grounds of the park.

Dmitry Mezentsev, director of Shkotovo safari-park, said: 'Sometimes during walks the tiger behaves as if he is hunting. Timur copies the behaviour of the predator, and imitates him. But he is not likely to start hunting.'

Timur - whose bravery won praise from around the world - is becoming nervous when he is not alongside his big cat protector. 

'For two nights in a row Timur stays by the bars separating his cage from the tiger',' he said. 'He refuses to stay in his shelter and declines to eat his evening meal. He's more worried when the tiger is not around and when he is surrounded by people. He wants to be around the tiger to get rid off stress.'

Timur and Amur

Timur and Amur

'As friendly and happy as ever'. Pictures: Dmitry Mezentsev

Ten days into a relationship nature did not intend, the goat now considers humans as 'a threat, as predators'. The latest update is that Amur and Timur are 'as friendly and happy as ever'.

Despite this, a well-known Russian animal handler has demanded that the creatures should be permanently separated since the tiger can suddenly turn on the goat, despite his earlier refusal to eat him as a meal. 

'If the tiger for some reason misses one or two feeds - naturally, there can be no mercy. The instinct to win,' said Edgar Zapashy.

He warned: 'The goat can to try to run away, and he will become a target by doing so. Instinct will work - and that's all. What's more, the goat is not the smartest animal. He could be so brazen that he will run and attack the tiger and get a real resistance. 

'On the other hand perhaps they will live happily ever after, but it is better not to continue this experiment. I do not see any sense in this. They have created a funny precedent. Let's keep the good and kind fairy-tale ending.'

Timur and Amur


Timur and Amur

'On the other hand perhaps they will live happily ever after, but it is better not to continue this experiment.' Pictures: Dmitry Mezentsev, PrimaMedia

But Vladimir Krever, WWF-Russia bio-diversity coordinator, has predicted that this all-male relationship could become even more unexpected.

'One shouldn't apply terms of romantic novels to animals. But anything can happen in this unusual pair,' he told Moskovsky Komsomolets, predicting unexpected intimacy between them.

'As long as the predator is not hungry, the goat has a lot more chance to survive. However, there have been cases when even a hungry tiger didn't consider an animal he normally hunts on as food. Such examples of this paradoxical friendship can't be subject to predictions because it is related to particular intellectual features of this particular predator. There have been very limited studies of that.'

Comments (22)

The tiger is just keeping its food fresh so it can kill and eat the goat when necessary....
Enrique, Spain
06/12/2015 08:57
Please end the experiment before it all ends sadly. The tiger may not even mean to hurt the goat but it will. I now hear that there is to be a lady tiger introduced, this can only end one way. Save the goat.
Chris Stock, Brighton UK
06/12/2015 03:28
I have seen many "unlikely" friendships among animals. The bottom line, I believe, is companionship. It is a powerful drive.
Susan Crowell, Newfield USA
05/12/2015 22:52
They say that the goat Timur was pushed to the tiger's area to be eaten by the tiger Amur, but the goat rebuffed tiger's attack, and that's how they became friends :) They say, that Timur is more afraid of people than of the tiger, so that he (the goat) feels safe with the tiger :) Obviously other tigers do not understand this friendship, and people - also :)
Nik, San Jose/USA
05/12/2015 16:28
I had 2 cats at one time in life and one cat was very nervous and neurotic. The other cat was brave like a dog. The brave cat always protected the nervous cat. When friends come to visit the nervous cat would hide. But when the visitors left the brave cat would send out a special call to let the nervous cat know everything is okay now. I think there is some of this protector and relationship at work here. The tiger is probably also lonely. The lively, bouncy goat probably provides some mental stimulation for the tiger.
Dolly-the-Lamma, Las Vegas, USA
05/12/2015 15:54
Nothing in the footage looks like they are 'friends' though does it? It seems clear that the tiger is currently tolerating the goat, and one false move, the goat is a gonner! It's on borrowed time and if the nation has fallen for the hairy little fellow, they need to make sure he says well away from the big orange predator, who, one day, will snaffle him up like an h'ors d'oeuvre!
JH, Wiltshire
05/12/2015 14:53
Every day of our lives, we are living within a miracle, the miracle of life. I, for one, hope that these two can be a pair that shows that all honorable people are of the same tribe, and cut from the same cloth. Should there be a day the lion is not fed, and he eats the goat, I don't want to know that. Should there be a day the goat is not fed, and he eats the lion, I don't want to know that either.
This, may well be a true miracle, in this day and age, before our very eyes.
bernard townsend, saint louis missouri, unites states
05/12/2015 11:31

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