Lunchtime: Animal expert expects Russian tiger to finally gobble up goat pal

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It was seen as a friendship too good to be true, as a tiger in a Russian safari park made friends with its intended lunch, a goat. However, the zoo keepers have bad news for Timur the goat, saying it is only a matter of time before he is eventually eaten.

The Siberian tiger and goat have become internet sensations since they became unlikely buddies at a safari park in Russia’s Far East, not too far from Vladivostok. However, nothing lasts forever is the message coming from the head of one of Russia’s largest zoos.

"There is an 80-85 percent chance that he [the tiger] will eat the goat," Rostislav Shilo from Novosibirsk Zoo told TASS. However, he added that friendships between predators and their prey were not uncommon.

"We’ve had a vulture living with hares for some years. In winter, the hare sometimes climbs under his wing and goes to sleep. I also remember a cat who lived with a rat," Shilo said. "Such things happen. It is not unique, but always interesting,” he added.

The three-year-old tiger, called Amur, has so far resisted the temptation to eat the goat. In a video filmed by the park’s director, Dmitry Mezentsev, Amur is seen nuzzling at Timur’s food – hay and vegetables. The tiger is also seen licking and playing with a piece of salt – intended for those with hooves, not paws.

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The zookeepers had previously removed Timur after he did not whet Amur’s appetite, however, this proved to be an unpopular decision with the tiger, who subsequently began to roar all night following the temporary loss of his companion.

As for Timur, although the horned herbivore had the option of sleeping in a shelter made especially for him, he opted to stay close to his sharp-toothed pal, the zookeepers said.

“They’ve been standing nose to nose through the fencing,” the park’s director said, adding that the goat becomes stressed when the tiger is not around.

For several nights, the goat even forced the tiger out of his bed, making Amur sleep on the roof of the cave, as Timur lay comfortably in the tiger’s cot.