When predator befriends prey, the smart money is on a tumultuous end. And that's what happened to the Siberian tiger and the goat who was supposed to be his dinner, their zookeepers announced Friday.
Amur the tiger and Timur the tenacious goat are being kept in separate enclosures, according to the Primorsky Safari Park, after a breakup fight this week. No word on who is getting custody of their shared meal bowl.
The unlikely pair had captivated animal lovers in November, after the goat was placed in the tiger's enclosure as a meal. Instead, the goat fought back, and the pair began to play with each other in an unusual case of inter-species friendship. But the zookeepers had long warned that instinct might eventually take over.
"Timur went beyond all limits," the general director of the Primorsky Safari Park, Dmitry Mezentsev, wrote of the goat in a statement. "He pushed Amur away from their hill with his horns; he butted him with his horns and kicked him with his legs."
Then the tiger "rose and grabbed Timur by the neck as one would a kitten, and threw him up in the air," Mezentsev said, adding that he would not characterise it as an attack, just a "lesson" to the goat. Afterward, the zookeepers gave the tiger a live rabbit, which he killed and ate, Mezentsev said.
Speaking to the TASS news agency, Mezentsev put out a personals advertisement for a female goat to keep Timur company. "We hope that owners of goats will offer candidates," he said. "They can even send pictures of possible brides."
The breakup comes none too soon. A lawyer in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk had written a letter to Russia's Prosecutor General saying that media coverage of the same-sex pair was a violation of Russia's ban on so-called "gay propaganda." Lawyer Alexey Krestyanov warned that the intense media interest in the goat and the tiger could create "distorted notions about the social equivalence of traditional and non-traditional sexual relations" among minors, he wrote in a letter on his Facebook page.