Of all the animal-based stories we’ve shared over the years, perhaps one of the most memorable involved a fearless billy goat named Timur that purportedly befriended the very tiger that was supposed to eat him for lunch almost four years ago. It was an unlikely bond between prey and predator that amazed the entire world, but as most would come to expect, you can only live on the edge for so long before something happens.
Image Credit: Siberian Times/Dmitry Mezentsev
According to the Russian Safari Zoo where the unusual friendship originally took place, Timur officially died this past week. Surprisingly, however, it wasn’t due to being eaten by the tiger, whose name was Amur.
From what we can gather, the friendship between the Timur and Amur turned bitter in early 2016 after the goat continuously harassed the tiger and challenged it to playful head-butting when it didn’t want to play. After some time, the Amur became fed up with Timur’s behavior and allegedly stepped on him, grabbed him, and tossed him off one of the hillocks in the enclosure.
Timur wasn’t mortally injured from the fall, but he was left with a limp after the skirmish. The park owners did the only proper thing they could and sent him to animal care experts in Moscow for treatment.
Timur appeared to heal physically, but Amur’s unexpected response to his playfulness is thought to have taken a psychological toll on the goat. Timur appeared emotionally hurt and traumatized as his peppiness and excitement diminished.
Park staff noticed almost immediately that Timur’s overall health was deteriorating, but it seemed as though there was nothing they could do to restore the goat’s constitution. Nearly to three years after the altercation between Timur and Amur, the goat was officially pronounced dead from natural causes on Tuesday, November 5th.
It seemed impossible for such a friendship between prey and predator to have ever transpired, and that’s precisely what made it so significant. Timur will be missed not only by the park staff who cared for him, but also by the many people whose hearts he touched. The park is now planning to erect a bronze status of Timur such that he and his friendship with Amur won’t be forgotten anytime soon.