Regular readers of my blog probably think I am being paid something by Primorye Safari Park, (conveniently located in Vladivostok) to hype up their animals. Well, I’m not, it’s just that, like many people, out of insatiable curiosity for celebrity gossip, I have been following the Amur-Timur story. Where else in the Anglophone blogosphere can one read so many juicy details about this miscegenacious Tiger-Goat friendship? It is my duty to continue with this right up until that moment when, as Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin (aka “Essence of Evil”) predicted: The day will come, probably in the not too distant future, when there will be nothing left of the plucky goat Timur except for “rozhki da nozhki” (“horns and hooves”). Plus, there is an exciting new twist to the story!
Don’t worry – Timur is alive and well. “Ще не вмер,” as the Ukrainians like to say say. In fact, since chumming up with Tony the Tiger, he has been doing G-R-R-R-E-E-E-A-A-A-A-T! And also putting on weight. Which I personally find suspicious, I mean, how many carrots do you have to eat to get love handles? In any case, Timur has been temporarily separated from his pal. But not just because of his weight problem. There is something else going on, something very seamly and salacious. Inquiring minds wants to know, so please do read on, if you want to learn the scandalous truth. But first some tips about nutrition, then a sure-fire weight-loss program, followed by some recipes for delicious entres.
Please don’t feed the goat
Investigative reporters discovered that on the morning of 26 January, an overweight Timur was separated from Amur the Tiger. Zoo workers cautiously entered the big cat’s enclosure at a time before the two chums normally take their morning stroll together. They removed the goat and placed him into his own pen. All of this done literally under the “eye of the tiger”, as Amur watched the proceedings balefully through the bars of his cage.
Timur was immediately placed in the “Veterinary Block” of the zoo. Doctors want to (1) study him, (2) figure out why he put on weight, (3) put him on a slimming diet, and (4) remove all the fleas from his now-corpulent body.
Scrambling to deflect blame for Timur’s adipose enlargement, instead of admitting that they screwed up his diet, zoo keepers claim that tourists and visitors to the zoo have been tossing extra food to Timur. And he has been gobbling it up. You know how goats are – they’ll eat anything.
Officially, Timur’s daily diet used to be as follows: Seven liters of a feed mixture (oats, wheat, rice, corn), and two liters of cut vegetables: carrots, beets, yams, potatoes, and apples. But starting now, they are going to cut his ration in half. Because, like any celebrity, Timur needs to look good for his photoshoots. Even more importantly, Timur’s weight gain is impeding his daily harrassment routine. Watch the video embedded in this piece: It is Timur’s job to harrass and irritate Amur. But it is a sad state of affairs when a mountain goat can barely even wobble his fat ass onto a rock to taunt a tiger. When Amur gives the goat a good flat-pawed swat across the snout at :25 seconds in, that should have been a wake-up call to Timur: “Note to self. Lose weight. Get fabulous. All the better to annoy tiger.”
Denn Wovon Lebt Der Ziege?
And the piece I just linked offers some other interesting facts and numbers. One of the workers in the veterinary service of the zoo revealed the following to LifeNews:
When the goat was first brought to the zoo to be “sacrificed” to Amur, the zoo paid around 6,000 rubles for him, based on a formula of 150 rubles per kg of live flesh. Doing the math, Timur would have weighed 40 kg back in November. Only a month has gone by, and he already weighs 70 kg. He is two years old, and his normal weight should be no more than 50-65 kg.
As for Amur, his diet has remained steady, as has his weight. Every evening the big cat is fed around 10 kg of pork, beef, or fish. On Wednesdays and Sundays, the tiger gets a special treat: He is allowed to hunt and kill live rabbits.
Bride of Amur
But aside from nutritional tidbits, there is something else going on here, something the powers-that-be from the zoo have been concealing from a public besotted with the Tiger-Goat friendship.
Namely, Tiger Amur has been given a bride. They say that she is a real pussycat. Her name is Ussuri. Well, let’s call her Amur’s “fiancee” or “intended bride”, because it has not been reported that they ever consummated their love. Ussuri was brought into the park because it was thought that Amur’s fixation with a male goat was simply wrong. On several different levels. (Recall that Russia is a traditional “family-values” type culture.)
But here is the scandalous bit: Bride Ussuri has a sister name Taiga, who is equally as beautiful and soft and furry. The two female pussycats are living together in an enclosure right next to Amur’s. And conceivably competing for his charms, just like in some soap opera.
Double-twist: In an exclusive interview with LifeNews, Zoo Director Dmitry Mezentsev revealed that “Taiga” (sister of the bride) has gone into estrus. And yes, without getting too gross about it, she is menstruating all over the place. And I guess zoos don’t put maxi-pads on lady tigers. According to Mezentsev: “Animals, especially the males, get very irritable during such times. They become aggressive and unpredictable. Therefore, in order not to risk the life and health of the goat Timur, we removed him (for his own safety), and this also coincided with the need to give him a veterinarian work-over.”
This make sense. Recall that Timur has never been to a doctor in his life. In fact, his original visit to the zoo was only supposed to last for an hour or less. It was never planned that he would have his own pen, or his own nutritional plan. All of that had to evolve, once Timur made it clear that he intended to stay, but as a guest, rather than as a meal for another guest.
As for Amur, one hopes that the love match will work out between him and Ussuri. Or him and Taiga, as the case may be. But the zoo is right to treat this as a dangerous time, for both man and beast. For an animal who only gets a rare chance to score, like only about every seven years or so, you just don’t want a pesky and portly goat getting in the way.