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Time and again we hear about alliances between animals that would ordinarily be prey and predator. But in most cases they are a result of a strategic decision made by zoo keepers trying to help one or both animals. However, that was not the intention of the workers at Russia's Safari Park when they allowed a goat into their resident Siberian tiger Amur's enclosure in November 2015. They were just serving him dinner! Hence, you can only imagine how surprised they were to find the goat alive and well the following day.
Turns out that unlike previous goats that had been served for a tasty meal, this one did not cower at the sight of the ferocious looking tiger. Instead, Timur, as it is now called, intimidated Amur by drawing its horns and charging at him. And if that wasn't enough, Timur even took over Amur's cozy cave for a few nights, leaving the wildcat out in the cold.
Since then, the two have called a truce and become best pals. The zoo workers said when they tried removing Timur from the enclosure to protect him in case Amur changed his mind, the tiger roared all night and only calmed down when the goat was returned. Amur is now often seen nuzzling at the goat's hay and vegetables (as though contemplating turning vegetarian) and even licking at the lump of salt that is part of Timur's daily diet.
Not surprisingly, the unlikely pals are drawing a lot of attention. Zoo officials say they had to cancel employee holiday breaks to handle the unprecedented crowds that wanted to witness this heartwarming friendship firsthand. As you have probably guessed, goats are now off Amur's dinner menu. The Siberian tiger instead has to settle for rabbits. Somehow we have a feeling; he does not mind!
Resources: washingtonpost.com,rt.com, dailymail.co.uk