An unlikely friendship that had blossomed between a tiger and a goat at a safari park has been revealed to be a PR scam … surprise, surprise. While the idea of a cuddly goat and a big kitty cat being friends might give us butterflies in our stomachs from the cuteness overload, the fact of the matter is: it’s unnatural. Timur the goat and Amur the Siberian tiger supposedly became fast friends when Timur was brought to Amur as food in Primorsky Safari Park in Russia and things didn’t end as expected.
Because Amur had just been fed, he didn’t treat Timur like prey, which led the park to put their own spin on the story: the tiger and the goat were “best friends.” While animal friendships are indeed a thing, if Amur had been hungry at the time, his natural instincts as a predator would have driven him to hunt for his food and there would be no story to tell. The only way that park officials were able to maintain the illusion of friendship between predator and prey was to make sure that Amur was overfed. The friendship came to a halt after Timur, who had been reported as harassing Amur, was grabbed by the throat by the tiger and shaken violently. According to former park employee, Evgenia Patanovskaya, “they called it ‘friendship’ of the tiger and a goat, though the tiger was just well fed, and, as we know, a tiger not in the wild does not make food stocks.”
The end of the pair’s “friendship,” may have broken some hearts, but let’s face it — their friendship was never meant to be. The relationship between Timur and Amur is a far cry from a friendship between a cat and a dog. This is a relationship that would have never occurred in the wild, but because it looked cute from the outside, the park deemed it marketable. The money and publicity the park gained from the so-called friendship between predator and prey was much more valuable that allowing life for these animals to be as close to nature as possible.
No facility that truly cared for its animals would ever put their animals at risk or force them into unnatural situations that appeal to humans. The park’s second objective is to provide “a beautiful display of animals to visitors” … for a price. In a true sanctuary, Timur and Amur would have never been forced into such a bizarre living situation.
A real sanctuary’s mission is to care for its animals, not exploit them for profit. If you’re unsure whether a facility that houses exotic animals is a true sanctuary, check out this resource to look for the telltale signs of a “scamtuary.”
Lead image source: Dmitry Mezentsev/GrindTV