Animals

Tiger and Goat Forge Unlikely Friendship in Russian Zoo

A goat sent to a Russian safari park as live prey for a Siberian tiger has instead befriended the big cat.

A goat sent to a Russian safari park as live prey for a Siberian tiger has instead befriended the big cat and the two have become inseparable in a story that has captivated Russians.

Amur the tiger and Timur the goat now sleep in the same enclosure in the Primorsky safari park outside the Pacific port city of Vladivostok, and the pair eat and play together in the snow and this week even head-butted each other for fun.

The story of the unusual friendship has touched hearts in Russia with the safari park releasing regular updates on the pair and planning to install webcams in their enclosure.

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Staff at the park say the male tiger, who has been given live animals to hunt and eat twice a week for three years, did not touch the billy goat when it entered the enclosure last month because the goat did not show any fear.

"No one had taught the goat to be afraid of tigers," the park said in a statement.

Zoo chief Dmitry Mezentsev, who studies tigers and leopards, described the unlikely bromance as nothing short of a miracle.

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"This is a sign from above," Mezentsev told AFP on Thursday.

"People, take a look at yourselves. There are wars everywhere -- Ukraine, Syria. While such different animals can live together in peace."

Mezentsev said the staff realized the tiger would not touch the goat after the two had spent three days together.

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Timur now sleeps inside the shelter where Amur previously slept, while the tiger spends the night on its roof.

They meet up in the morning to walk around the spacious enclosure, with the goat usually following the tiger. Over the past few days they have begun playing together and chasing each other.

On Wednesday, Timur challenged Amur, poking him with his horns.

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"The tiger accepted the goat's challenge," the safari park said.

"He pushed his forehead against Timur's horns, the friends butted heads for five seconds without coming to blows, after which Amur calmly went to bask in the sun on the hill."

The tiger has also attempted to teach the goat how to catch prey and has recently taken a great interest in a block of salt given to Timur.

Amur is now being fed live rabbits for lunch, "out of respect for goats," said Mezentsev.

Amur the tiger and Timur the goat are now fast friends.

Among the

many

things

we

learned

this week, one story was of the amazing friendship formed between a

tiger named Amur and a goat named Timur

. Timur was supposed to be a meal for the big cat, but the friendly goat had other ideas. Now, so far, they are best buds. They're not the only unusual animal friendships, though. Let's look at a few more.

Tiger And Goat Forge Unlikely Friendship In Russian Zoo

Here's another pair of cute, fast friends. Meet Kumbali and Kago -- a puppy and a cheetah cub (Kumbali's the cheetah and the lab mix is Kago). They live at Virginia's Metro Richmond Zoo. It's not clear how long they will remain together, but they seem to love each other's company. (Check out this

video

, if you can handle all the cuteness.) Next we'll take a look at some unforgettable pictures from

Rocky Ridge Refuge

, which knows a thing or two about unlikely animal friendships, as you will see.

Cheetah Cub, Puppy Make Fast Friends At Va. Zoo

It's not every day you see a baby skunk and a kitten getting to know each other on your couch. But it was a typical day for Janice Wolf, her menagerie of dogs, sheep, donkeys, horses, emus, and countless cats, ducks, rabbits, turtles -- and whatever animal may need a home that day. Wolf runs

Rocky Ridge Refuge

in Gassville, Ark. The refuge is her personal labor of love for abandoned, abused and injured animals of every shape, size, species and ailment. Wolf's rescues generally enter the refuge with horrific tales of neglect and abuse. But through Wolf's perseverance many of the animals go on to live long, happy lives -- filled with some of the most amazing interspecies friendships. "The only rule we have here is 'we gotta get along,'" said Wolf. "And they do." Above, we see an abandoned kitten (part of a litter left for dead when the kittens were just a day old) that engaged Josh, the resident skunk. Josh was raised by humans and then abandoned and didn't have the necessary skills to survive in the wild.

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Shown is one of Rocky Ridge's great success stories, Tristan, a three-legged dog (top left), who came from a horribly abusive home and went on to make frequent visits to nursing homes, as a therapy dog. His friendship with Fiesta, an orphaned deer, was also legendary. "He just assigned himself the protector," recalls Wolf. "He came from such a terrible place but he was so loving and forgiving. That’s the great thing about animals -- they pay it forward." Meanwhile, Duncan, the dog at right, also came to Rocky Ridge Refuge "from a bad situation." But he never seemed to hold it against any person or animal. Here, he uses Nabisco the fawn as a pillow.

You'd never know it from Parfait's belly-up smile and her gentle demeanor with Mark, the emu chick, that she was once so abused her collar had become embedded in her neck. Parfait came to Rocky Ridge Refuge after living on the streets of St. Louis. Rescuers found her with a litter of puppies that had frozen to death. Parfait, too, was close to death, according to Wolf, who spent time nursing the pitbull back to health. Parfait broke the boundaries of pit bull prejudice, enjoying all things cute and fluffy, from chicks to bunnies.

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Here Rocky Ridge's capybara Cheesecake befriends dogs. Cornbread, a deaf bull terrier (bottom right) and Cheesecake were instant friends, according to Wolf.

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Ivan, the Catahoula mix, started going blind at about a year old, but it never stopped him from "nannying" Rocky Ridge's orphans, like Raoul the raccoon.

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Blade, the Irish wolfhound, came to Rocky Ridge Refuge as a puppy and then spent the next year of his life recovering from paralysis of all four limbs. With lots of physical therapy and love, Wolf was able to help Blade learn to walk on his own. Before he could walk, however, he was a favorite of the other baby refugees, who often kept him company inside while the other dogs were able to roam outside. Look closely and you can see that Blade is cuddling with a duckling.

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This photo may be the true image of brotherly love. The orphaned lamb was adopted by the mother of the puppy he's sleeping atop. The mother dog gave birth to 10 puppies on Wolf's bed just a week after being brought to Rocky Ridge Refuge. She "insisted," on caring for the lamb as though it were one of her puppies, according to Wolf. The lamb nursed (and cuddled) along with the rest of the pups. The final (and largest) piece of this snuggle puzzle is Krispin, a St. Bernard puppy who came to the refuge with a broken leg.

VIDEO: Why Do Puppies Yawn?

Lurch may have been Rocky Ridge Refuge's most famous resident of all time. The African Watusi steer holds the record for the largest circumference of horns -- ever. He was even recognized by Guinness World Records. Lurch was also the leader of Rocky Ridge's motley pack until his death in 2010, according to Wolf. His size never prevented him from befriending other refugees, including Isaiah the cat. Here, a young Lurch (with his horns yet to reach their 8-foot span) grazes while little Isaiah enjoys the ride.

Cats Don't Actually Ignore Us

Finally, meet Janice Wolf herself. Here she is posing in 2012 for a photo with two of Rocky Ridge's refugees. The animal rescue organization was a life-long dream of hers. "I was born to do it," says Wolf, recalling that her first "rescue" was a pelican when she was just a toddler growing up in Florida. For more than 20 years she's used her experience as a veterinary technician and holistic medicine practitioner to help animals. You can follow the stories of her animals on the

Rocky Ridge Refuge website

and

Facebook page

.

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