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30 Dec, 2015 10:36

Hunger games? 5 reasons Amur the Tiger hasn’t eaten Timur the Goat

Fans of Amur, a Siberian tiger, and Timur, a feisty goat that's not seen as prey by the predator, can finally keep close tabs on the animal buddies 24/7 – thanks to a reality show launched at the Far Eastern Safari Park.

The unique 'friendship' between Amur and Timur first created a buzz late last month, raising many eyebrows after the lionhearted goat refused to become the predator's lunch, and even dared to steal the feline’s bed. The goat showed no fear and the tiger seems to respect that.

READ MORE: A tiger's best friend is a... goat: Activists call on zookeepers to separate the pals

As people wonder how long the 'friendship' may last and if the tiger will eventually eat the goat, we break down five theories as to why Timur is still alive:


Reverse psychology. The tiger is a wild animal and has killer instincts, but “by a strange twist of fate, two kindred spirits have come together in the tiger and goat. The skeptics may find it absurd, but people who are deep into these matters will understand what I mean,” Russian esoteric writer Aleksandr Altbregen told Moskovsky Komsomolets daily.


It's called loneliness. The confined tiger is on cloud nine that he finally has a friend. “Amur spared Timur because he’s bored to death [in the park.] Now they’re spending time together – it's all about emotions, even though animal activists don't believe in this. Friendship between different creatures, as well as love, can actually exist," a prominent Russian circus artist Edgar Zapashny says.


Timur didn’t behave like prey and the tiger wasn’t hungry. Then the predator started to ignore the goat as something redundant. According to Sergey Aramilev from the Amur Tiger Preservation Fund, "there are situations when a tamer and a predator share the same premises. But if the man shows signs of fear the predator quickly gets the point. The same may happen to Timur if one day he thinks of himself as a victim."


The goat is sort of walking 'canned food' for the tiger. "As long as the predator isn’t hungry, Timur is relatively safe. The goat may easily become prey if the tiger decides to play with him. He may be killed by accident," says a zoologist from the Moscow Zoo, Svetlana Svyatskaya.


Could it be... love? You never know, really. “Anything can happen between this couple, including sexual contact,” Vladimir Krever, program head at the WWF, told Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper. “One shouldn't transfer a romance novels' vocabulary on to the animals,” he added, however. “While the predator is not hungry, the goat has a high chance of survival. But there are some cases when even a hungry tiger didn't view an animal as prey. Such examples of a paradoxical friendship cannot be predicted – those are specific features of the predator's intelligence.”

READ MORE: New movie stars? Tiger & goat pals in Russian safari park to be filmed by S. Korean director

As for Russia's best -known zoologist, Nikolay Drozdov - he believes the tiger-goat friendship is nothing but a fantasy, no matter its New Year spirit.