The Far Eastern Safari Park in the Primorsky region said it gives predators twice-weekly meals of live animals, but never before have they seen anything like this happen.
"Tiger Amur knows very well how to hunt goats and rabbits. But recently he came across a goat that he refused to hunt."
So when Timur the goat was pushed into Amur the Tiger's enclosure as live prey, everyone imagined that that would have been the end of him. The foolishly brave Timur, unfazed by the situation, entered the enclosure and brazenly confront the tiger head-on.
But in a bizarre, Disney Movie-esque twist of events, Amur backed down from the confrontation. After assessing the situation, Timur proceeded to kick Amur out of his sleeping quarters, "banishing him to sleeping on the shelter's roof." Said a staff member from the safari park:
"The brave goat not only saved his own life. He kicked the tiger out of his bedroom and is sleeping on Amur's 'bed' for the fourth night. We named the goat Timur - he was just a nameless prey at the point when he entered the cage - out of respect his bravery."
Completely baffled by the situation, Russian zookeepers didn't know what else to do except give the two separate sleeping quarters and let the rest pan out.
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Live goat meant to be Siberian tiger's lunch is now his best friend
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Dog Poppy and meerkat Timon in the bath at their home on July 14, 2011 in Dronfield, England. This meerkat and dog have been inseparable ever since four-year-old Timon was sent packing by his meerkat mob. The friendly animal found comfort in the arms of owner John Bent's dog, Poppy, and the unlikely pair have formed a mob of their own - which includes John, his wife, Sally, and their two children. You wouldn't expect a meerkat to be friends with a dog, explained hospice service manager Sally. They tend to stick very much to their own kind. The couple, from Dronfield in Derbyshire, has a collection of exotic critters, which started with a pair of skunks three years ago. Since then their menagerie has grown to include meerkats, raccoons, coatis and kinkajous. However, it is the relationship between six-year-old Chihuahua-Maltese Terrier cross Poppy and Timon, which is most surprising. The are inseparable, said John, who owns a surface coating company. Timon came into the house and instantly struck up a relationship with Poppy, who is just about as small a dog as you can get. Now they do everything together. They go for walks together and play together until they fall asleep on the sofa together. (Photo by Nick Obank / Barcroft Media / Getty Images)
Shere Khan the tiger, Leo the lion and Baloo the bear play outside at the Noah Ark Rehabilitation Centre in LOCUST GROVE, GA. Known as the BLT, or Bear, Lion and Tiger, these most unusual and unlikely animal friends are having to go on a diet after being spoilt too much. For not only do Baloo the bear, Leo the Lion, and Shere Khan the tiger have an unnatural bond, they also have a remarkable appetite too. Devouring almost 100 pounds worth of meat and vegetables a week between them, the rescued big beasts had developed something of an obesity problem. Staff at Noah's Ark Animal Rehabilitation Centre in the state of LOCUST GROVE, GA, decided to stop indulging their favoured guests and to put them on a diet after they each gained 100lbs. (Photo by Barcroft USA / Getty Images)
KATMAI NATIONAL PARK, AK - UNDATED: ***EXCLUSIVE***A female coastal brown bear and one-year old grey wolf relax together after fishing for salmon at the Hallo Bay estuary in the Katmai National Park, Alaska. In the seemingly most unlikely animal partnership ever this wild brown bear and grey wolf look just like they are fishing buddies. Showing a heartwarming moment when the pair - both wild -decided to forget their differences, the bizarre duo took an end-of-day break together just three feet apart. Both had spent hours trying to land a big catch during the first day of the annual salmon run in the remote Alaskan wilderness at Hallo Bay estuary, Katmai National Park. The pair - a 700lb female bear and one-year-old wolf - were both spotted by photographer Chris Dodds, 42, from Franklin Centre, Canada. He said: 'They were just three feet apart and they didn't seem the slightest bit worried about each other. It was very unusual. They looked just like a pair of fishing buddies and stayed together like that for at least two hours.' (Photo by Christopher Dodds / Barcroft Media / Getty Images)
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Since then, the two have reportedly become best bros, living in the same enclosure, eating and playing together in the snow, and even playfully head-butting each other. According to The Siberian times, they take walks together every day, "as if it were the most natural thing in the entire world."
#PhotoOfTheDay we only believed it when we saw it: this goat was meant to be the tiger's lunch, but now it bosses the big cat
Some animal rights activists have called upon the park to separate the two, posting on the zoo's website that Timur is "sensational" and that "he has earned the right to live." But zookeepers say that separating the two might be easier said than done, considering the protective attitude Amur shows towards his new friend.
"[Amur] hissed at an employee who feeds the tigers, as if to tell him, 'Hey, don't you ever approach my friend.' Before that, he never showed any aggression towards staff."
Besides, zookeepers don't really seem too concerned that Amur will turn on Timur anytime soon -- or ever, for that matter. Apparently, zookeepers believe that the reason for their friendship actually stems from their inherent differences. Amur the tiger, "quite cautious by his nature," resolved not to go to the trouble of hunting Timur. As for Timur?
"We think that the goat never came across tigers and no one taught him to be scared of them."
Mutual respect of each other's differences leading to friendship? Interesting concept.