A Siberian tiger at a safari park in Russia has been reduced to sleeping on the roof of its enclosure after it was kicked out – courtesy of the goat it was supposed to have eaten.
Officials at the Primorsky Safari Park in Shkotovsky, Russia are both surprised and a little perplexed after a goat – originally given to the Siberian (or Amur) tiger as a live meal – has instead taken to bullying the big cat around his own pen.
Officials at the zoo have since named the plucky goat Timur after a character in a Soviet-era children’s book.
“The goat was very brave, and every attack the tiger exhibited got a horn or attack in response,” park director Dmitry Mezentsev told RIA News in Russia. “The cautious tiger was confused, and he decided not to mess with the goat and ‘waved his paw’.”
Despite this seemingly antagonistic relationship, zoo officials say there’s also an undercurrent of friendship to the tiger/goat relationship.
“It looks like they are friends,” another zoo staffer told the Siberian Times. “Timur the goat has taken the tiger for a leader and follows him everywhere.”
NBC News reports that while Siberian tigers are still an endangered species, their numbers have stabilized somewhat to around 500 or so thanks in some part to the efforts of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is a fan of the predatory cats.