Amur the Siberian tiger and Timur the goat have been a sensation across the world. The Primorsky Safari Park is home to Amur, who is one of only 540 Siberian tigers remaining in the Russian Far East. Maybe it was love at first sight, or maybe because of Timur’s feisty attitude in defending himself from the tiger, the tiger did the unthinkable -instead of eating the goat as was the norm, he and the goat developed a friendship. From the accounts of observers: They follow each other around their enclosure, head-butting with their heads lingering together for over five seconds, playing hide-and-seek, romping around and changing roles in tag, role-playing hunter and predator (the goat imitating the predator), and playing with a soccer ball together. Timur apparently felt so secure with the tiger, that in their tumultuous relationship, he would kick Amur out of his den at night when it was cold. Domestic violence was also, sadly, part of this tender love story.
As one might expect, their relationship turned to violence. Timur went a bit too far, bullying the tiger with his horns while he was sleeping:
“Timur pushed Amur down the slope, poked him with his horns and legs, and finally stepped on Amur while he was sleeping,” said director Dmitry Mesemtsev. “Amur woke up, grabbed Timur with his teeth, shook him like a kitten, and threw him away. Then he lay down to rest again.”
Timur received shock therapy after being removed to his own enclosure. He had gained weight to an unhealthy degree in his stay with the tiger in addition to some scratches that needed veterinary attention. The pair was separated, despite being a huge tourist attraction for the Russian Far East. At least, that was the story told to the public, but there is another side to this story. A lawyer in Novosibirsk (southwestern Siberia) named Alexei Krestianov published a letter to his personal Facebook page, appealing to the General Prosecutor’s Office to ban coverage of the tiger and goat pair, claiming that news of this story was dangerous – “generating interest in non-traditional sexual relationships.”
Photo via Facebook
Krestianov believes the story is gay propaganda, illegal in Russia, and that the “non-traditional cohabitation” would encourage kids to be gay. Apparently, he was totally unaware that his bizarre claims would gain worldwide notoriety in their own right. Whatever the case may be, Timur and Amur are living independently for now. The mating season is calling, and it is thought that this would increase the possibility of violence from the tiger. Or were they really separated to keep Russia’s children from instantaneously becoming homosexual as they consider a couple of animal buddies in a zoo? The world may never know for sure…
Watch the famous pair of animal friends here, with some other strange ideas about why the goat and tiger became such an unlikely pair: