1. Amur the Tiger

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In late November of this year, at the Far East Russian Safari Park, it came time to feed Amur, their resident 3-year-old Siberian tiger. And so, the animal's handlers brought out what was to become a very strange, very special lunch for the beast.
Photographer: Yuri Smityuk/TASS

2. Got Your Goat

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It was a live goat! You see, at this particular zoo, tigers are given live prey twice a week, so they can fulfill their innate hunting instincts. It's a controversial policy, but one that the Far East Russian Safari Park has maintained for a while now.

3. This Goat's Got Moxie

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The thing is, though, that while Amur the tiger usually tears its live lunches to shreds, for some reason it didn't immediately maul this little goat. As Safari Park Director Dmitry Mezentsev explained to TASS (the Russian News Agency), "Amur likes to hunt goats and rabbits but he did not want to eat this one as he [the goat] is brave."

4. Follow the Tiger

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And so, not only did Amur decide not to kill this goat, but he now considers it his new best friend. 
...No, seriously! Mezentsev continued, explaining that the tiger and goat eat and walk together, and do not regard themselves as predator and prey. Instead, "the goat considers Amur his leader and follows him everywhere."

5. Need a Place to Crash?

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In fact, TASS even reports that the goat (who the zookeepers have since named Timur) "made no attempts to run away from the tiger and now sleeps inside the predator's bed while Amur has to recline on the shelter's roof."

6. A Little Protective

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And if you want to try separating these two, you'd better be prepared for a fight. On November 27th, Mezentsev recalled that "after having dinner, Amur waited for Timur to enter the shelter. He hissed at the keeper, warning him not to approach the goat." 
...Fine, Amur. We won't bother your goat friend. Sheesh.

7. Time to Install Bunk Beds

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Once reunited, though, all was well. "When Timur entered the shelter, Amur sniffed him and went to sleep on the roof."
Old habits die hard, after all.

8. There's Always One...

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This unlikely friendship has captured the imagination of people around the world, but there's somebody who hasn't been quite so understanding: Amur's sister Taiga, who lives in the neighboring enclosure. TASS surmises that she "would likely present an altogether different story for a prudent Timur." Thankfully, the goat makes sure to keep his distance from the other side.

9. Just to be Safe, Though...

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But still, it's important to realize that these are both wild animals. So, for the safety of everyone (but mostly Timur's), the zoo's employees "have decided to settle the pals in separate enclosures," at least for now.

10. Like Day Camp

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Don't worry. These two will still get to hang out during the day. But, when evening falls or meals are being served, perhaps it's best not to tempt the predator/prey instinct so much.

11. But Wait, There's More

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Even more amazingly, the Siberian Times has reported that Amur has decided to show Timur the ropes by taking him out hunting. Again, we're dead serious: "Sometimes during walks, the tiger behaves as if he is hunting. Timur copies the behaviour of the predator, and imitates him."
We doubt Timur is going to become a pro anytime soon, but still, it's pretty cool.
Photographer credit: Dmitry Mezentsev

12. Tigers: The Perfect Way to Unwind

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Some people have questioned whether this friendship is actually a two-way street, or if Timur is just acting out of fear of being eaten. To that, Mezentsev points out that the goat is "more worried when the tiger is not around and when he is surrounded by people. He wants to be around the tiger to get rid off stress."

13. Coming to a Web Feed Near You

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The two have become such a sensation that the zoo has has published details for where Russians can donate money, if they so choose. And it'll go to good use: funding a web cam and video to record the lives of the two pals.

14. Chilling in the Snow

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After a crazy event like this, you can bet that the Far East Russian Safari Park will never be the same again. In fact, there's already one big change that has gone into effect since Amur and Timur became best buds...

15. Ch-ch-ch-changes

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...Amur "would not be fed with live goats in future," said Mezentsev.

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