This story is from about a week ago, but I got distracted by less important things. One of the burning questions this piece tries to answer is: What made Timur so brave? What was there in the past life or upbringing of this ordinary goat that enabled him to walk right up to a ferocious tiger, a killing machine, look him right in the eye, and win his respect?
Recall that Timur the Goat was offered to Amur the Tiger as his lunch. And that, instead of eating him, Amur gave his new friend his own bed and shelter.
Investigative reporters from LifeNews hunted down fragments of Timur’s hidden past. From a time before he became an international celebrity at the Primorye “Safari Park”. From a time when he was just a scrappy young goat growing up on a farm. The patchy and un-handsome beast went under a different name and a different identity. The story and accompanying video reveals a shocking surprise.
At 00:35 seconds into the video, the camera pauses, and the announcer says: “And there is Timur’s mom.” The lady goat, whose name is Zhanna, caught unaware by the intrusive camera, turns and stares. Her face shows that she is clearly hiding a secret. She turns away, unsure how to evade the persistent paparazzi who have penetrated right into her home. For a second she peers back at her own rear end, as if to say: “Does my ass look fat in this shot?”
What reporters have discovered so far, is that Timur grew up in the town of Romanovka. On a farm. A farm where goats are kept in a barn and fed bails of hay. Sounds innocent so far. But there is a seamy underbelly to this story: The goats are being raised as food for tigers! And not just goats, but also rams (“barany”). Their fate is to end up as the lunch of the big cats dwelling in nearby “Safari Park” zoo.
Timur Preferred Not To Be Eaten
Russian news sources have delicately skirted around the issue, whether Tiger Amur had ever tasted goat meat in the past. In one story I read, for which unfortunately I forgot to save the link, there was a clue that he had. Just a laconic statement, something to the effect that “After the friendship developed between the two animals, the curators of the Safari Park stopped feeding Amur goat meat.” All he gets now is live rabbits. I guess they don’t want to give him any ideas…. What with the tiger-goat story being such a money-maker, in terms of international fame and tourists flocking to the park, and such-like. Although they have plenty other attractions too, like bears, for example.
But in the final analysis, what was there in Timur’s secret past that gave him the courage to stand up to Amur? LifeNews discovered that, during his childhood on the farm, Timur used to hang around with “hunting” dogs (“с бойцовыми собаками”, literally “with fighting dogs“, and I hope that doesn’t mean what it sounds like). And even back then Timur had a knack for socializing: His bestie among the dogs was an “алабай“, and I don’t know what the word is for that breed in English, but it looks something like in this photo, and it is HUGE.
Apparently these dogs are used to herd the other animals. The farmer reveals that Timur’s friend among these dogs was a big brute named “Zulum”. Timur [not his real name at the time] even lived with Zulum in the same pen.
Anatoly Ovoyan, son of the farmer, revealed to the LifeNews reporter that: “See, I have this dog named Zulum. In his coloring he looks sort of like a tiger. He and [the goat] ate together, and even slept together.”
Anatoly goes on to reveal other aspects of the goat personalities:
“Timur’s mom, the goat Zhanna, is considered the boldest among the herd. But she differs from her offspring, in that she is calm and unflappable. The farmers say that a goat raised by hunting dogs never gave anybody any peace and quiet. To this day, my dad curses me out for sending that goat away. It’s just that he (Timur) exasperated everyone to tears! He would pick fights with the dogs out in the field, he would steal their food. He beat up the goats, he beat up the rams. For that reason we couldn’t keep him in the herd.”
Anatoly’s dad, Aivaz Ovoyan, the owner of the farm, chimes in with the following
“On the day when we were loading up the truck to go to the Safari Park, he himself [Timur] jumped onto the back of the truck. We didn’t bother to drag him off, we just took him with us.”
And that is how Timur ended up in Safari Park, where his current job is to be the best friend and companion to a lonely tiger.