MOSCOW — Timur the goat was meant to be nothing more than a tasty meal for Amur, a Siberian tiger living in a safari park.
Timur had other ideas.
The stubborn animal was sent into the tiger's enclosure earlier this week as one of the predator's twice-weekly meals of live animals, the park said Thursday.
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However, no one had taught Timur to be afraid of tigers. And instead of dutifully fulfilling its role in the food chain, Timur chased Amur out of the big cat's own sleeping place.
The tiger, by this point seemingly puzzled at the role-reversal, opted against confrontation. Timur has been bedding down in his spot for four nights now; Amur has been banished to sleeping on the shelter's roof.
The drama played out at the Primorsky Safari Park, in Russia's far southeastern corner. The park said the "daredevil" goat's heroics were what actually earned it the name Timur, after a courageous kid from a popular Communist-era children's book.
"It's a fitting name for such a fearless animal," the park said.
But despite the unusual sleeping arrangements, there does not appear to be any animosity between the unlikely pair. Timur has also taken to following Amur around everywhere.
Siberian tigers are an endangered species but their numbers have stabilized in recent years to around 500. This is thanks largely to the conservation efforts by Russian President Vladimir Putin, known for his love of big and dangerous animals.
Alexey Eremenko is a producer in NBC News’ Moscow bureau. He previously worked at Russia's sole English-language daily The Moscow Times and on the English desk of the RIA Novosti newswire. His main beats included politics, space and environment, and he has reported from Afghanistan, Mali, Iran and across Russia.