It was late November when Timur the goat entered Amur the tiger’s den as nothing more than a piece of live meat. Today, their friendship is still blossoming.
Skeptics, such as the editors of Russia’s Siberia Times, said Timur wouldn’t last a week before Amur would turn on him and eat him alive, but it’s now been more than 5 weeks together at the Far East Safari Park in Primorsky, Russia. And they haven’t decided to kill each other yet.
Over the past weeks together, they’ve played hide-and-go seek. They’ve butted heads with each other for fun. They’ve even made it through their first fight together when Timur kicked the tiger out of his shelter during a rainstorm.
Through thick and thin, these two animals are good pals in what seems to be an unusual friendship, but perhaps the strangest behavior surrounding this event comes from the humans watching their every move.
Since Timur moved in with Amur, the two have gained international fame. They’ve been featured in an hour-long documentary titled Tiger Amur and Goat Timur: A Wonderful Friendship, directed by Russian filmmaker Eleonora Lyubimova. Additionally, the two are also the subjects of another documentary directed by Sooyong Park of South Korea.
They’ve increased the zoo’s attendance by 300 percent, and the zoo even announced it is installing 16 cameras for a live stream.
“We still feed Amur live prey twice a week, but we don’t give him goats anymore out of respect for Timur,” Dmitry Mezentsev told the BBC. Now, his living diet is relegated to strictly rabbits.
If anything is stopping Amur from eating the live goat he shares a bed with, it appears to be Timur’s bravery. Nobody ever taught him to fear tigers, so he never showed any sign of weakness in their presence. Apparently, that freaked Amur out.
“The tiger was confused and gave up,” Mezentsev said told to the Observer. “It happened once before, another goat pushed back and the tiger decided not to eat him, but once he showed weakness — that was it — his predator killed him. The situation now is different and the animals are great friends.”
Right now, it’s anyone’s guess how this all will end. Whether Amur and Timur go down in history as the tiger and goat friends who never killed each other, or the whole thing ends with Amur licking his lips, the story of Amur and Timur, two animals in a small Russian zoo, is now reaching all corners of the Earth.