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85% certain: the tiger will eat his pal the goat, warns Siberian zoo expert

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10 December 2015


Shilo heads Novosibirsk Zoo and he has seen other odd friendships, but insists this one will not last. Picture: V.Ankov

Timur the goat was fed to the hungry tiger as his lunch: live prey that should be eaten in the flash of an eye. Except that Timur made friends with his predator and this odd couple relationship blossomed, with Russians agog over what will happen next. Two weeks on, and there has been no calamitous event. 

The goat has had a calming influence on the tiger, says the safari park director in the Russian Far East. 

The tiger appears to be teaching the goat to hunt as nature's most unexpected male bonding develops, rather than hunting the goat. 

Our stories and videos on the bizarre friendship can be seen here and here. But now zoo expert Rostislav Shilo says it cannot last.

'There is an 80-85% chance that he will eat the goat,' he warned.

Shilo heads Novosibirsk Zoo and he has seen other odd friendships, but insists this one will not last.

'We had a vulture living with hares for some years,' he said. 'In winter, a hare can climb under his wing and sleep. I also remember a cat who lived with a rat.

Such things happen. This is not unique, but always interesting.'

85% certain: the tiger will eat his pal the goat, warns Siberian zoo expert

85% certain: the tiger will eat his pal the goat, warns Siberian zoo expert
85% certain: the tiger will eat his pal the goat, warns Siberian zoo expert. Pictures:Dmitry Mezentsev

The tiger - called Amur - has been hunting rabbits, but at least so far does not see Timur as prey. The safari park has published daily updates on the relationship.

Comments (10)

An interesting anomaly; but it is time to separate the two!
It is wrong to 'live feed' the predators for amusement of viewers as it is a 'canned hunt' no better than those that pay to hunt animals in controlled enclosures. You have locked these animals up in unnatural settings, the least you can do is cook them their meals!
Steven Kovacs, Toronto Canada
19/12/2015 21:34
This was the only goat who did not flee from the tiger. That is why the goat is not interesting to hunt for the tiger. As soon as this goat is going to see the tiger as a predator and tries to run from the tiger the tiger will definately hunt and kill this goat. It is ridiculous to put prey and predator fenced, nothing natural about it! Just cruel entertainment just like they do in China. Children are watching how the tiger hunts and kill its prey. They watch a poor goat scream in agony and fear bloodspilling suffecating dying, or eaten alive. I can not imagine parents taking their children to such an abnormal thing to watch. Makes my skin crawl. Nature is fine, they both have a chance but this is cruel!!! Only the tiger survives and that is usually not its natural prey.
Suzie, Netherlands
16/12/2015 18:36
If not for their unexpected friendship, we'd never even heard of Timur, he'd just become Amur's lunch. I honestly can't see it as cruelty to keep them together now. OK, maybe one morning something will click in Amur's system and he'll eat his "friend". But, who knows? 85%? Their chances are still 15%...
Suzana, Sao Paulo/Brazil
16/12/2015 03:58
I find the comments of Miss. Rose Benninger very interesting. She says that assigning human feelings to animals is wrong. Maybe she is right but when I watch my cat sleeping with the dog some doubt arises
Vannucchi Giuseppe, Pistoiia - Italy
15/12/2015 01:32
Tigers DO NOT teach goats to hunt. How ridiculous is that assumption. Stupid.
rose beninger, USA
14/12/2015 05:22
I think leaving these two animals together is rather cruel. We do know some of the things that trigger the predatory instinct to kill, but we do NOT know all of the triggers. A wild animal can suddenly go into kill mode for no apparent reason. The longer this poor goat stays with the tiger the greater chance he will be a meal. To assign human feelings to animals is wrong, it is called Anthropomorphism. The tiger has no concept of right or wrong, of friend or enemy, of prey or predator. They run completely on instinct and have no conscience. Why do you think animals, both wild and domestic (bulls), that have been hand raised from birth have suddenly turned on their owners and severely injured or killed them. To label the goat a "friend" or "companion" is ignorant. It is inhumane to leave these two together.
rose beninger, USA
14/12/2015 05:17
Anybody who has been lonely will know what this is about.
Jon, UK
13/12/2015 20:12
suppose the Safari park rangers just have to keep Amur well fed, than Timur has a good chance to live a little bit longer.
Benedikt, Moscow,Russia
11/12/2015 10:07
It is extremely cruel. By being able to do that you are even worse than the animals and should be all thrown to them to be eaten alive. I wander how would you feel.
jo, denmark
11/12/2015 04:17
As tigers don´t have freezers, they keep their food alive, in good condition until they want to eat it. Same as humans do in farms. There are pigs, chicken etc. alive living with the farmers...but when the farmer wants the chicken or pig are killed and eaten. So, the tiger will do the same.

Also humans play in the farm with our food.
Enrique, Spain
11/12/2015 02:03

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