The “friendship” between a Siberian tiger and a goat in a Russian safari park came to a swift and unexpected end. No, the tiger did not decide to terminate its relationship by actually eating the goat—park employees removed the animal after they said it became too fat.
Employees said that ample food and little excercise meant that the goat, named Timur, gained about 44 pounds since it started living with the tiger late last year.
“Timur’s problem is obesity, which can be harmful for his health,” Dmitry Mezentsev, the park director, told TASS. “We have decided to fulfill two tasks—to carry out Timur’s veterinary checks and to keep him safe from possible changes in the male tiger’s behavior.”
Apparently, obesity increased the goat’s chances of becoming dinner. Mezentsev said he is considering reintroducing Timur into the tiger enclosure after the goat is back to a healthy weight—and if the tiger does not make any predatory moves. The two animals have been living together for more than two months. Timur was first sent into the tiger habitat as food for the male cat, named Amur. Employees said that the goat showed no fear and started wandering around the enclosure. Surprisingly, the tiger also made no moves to eat the animal. After a few days, employees spotted the two walking together and the goat even eventually took over the tiger’s usual sleeping spot.
“Yes, indeed, Amur and Timur sometimes play with one another. We have seen this many times,” Mezentsev commented in an update on the park’s website.
The park switched to feeding the tiger rabbits as live food, and, rather unexpectedly, Amur observed attempting to teach the goat how to hunt. The two were also seen butting heads and engaging in mock chases.
Wildlife experts say the phenomenon is strange, but not meant to last. Despite that, the relationship between predator and prey quickly became viral hit in Russia and drew large crowds to the safari park.
“We have never seen so many visitors. On the New Year weekend, everyone decided to come to witness Timur and Amur. We asked the workers to cancel their break and come to work,” Mezentsev told the Siberian Times. “We are even thinking about asking police here to keep the order.”
The park director did not give a timeline on when, or if, the goat will return to the tiger enclosure. You can see a video of the two below: