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Depressed, Caged Tiger Cheers Up After Being Given Pet Mice (Photos)

| by Sean Kelly

A caged tiger at a zoo in Romania, who had become depressed after the loss of his partner of 13 years, cheered up when he made friends with two mice that were originaly given to him as a snack.

The tiger, named Sandokan, had been at the zoo with his partner for 13 years before her death. Workers at the zoo in the eastern Romania town of Galati brought him a new female companion, Samira, but Sandokan ignored her. Unsure of what to do, the staff decided to release two mice into Sandokan's cage, hoping that a snack would cheer up the inconsolable tiger. To the staff's surprise, however, Sandokan didn't eat the mice  the three became fast friends. According to workers at the zoo, Sandokan let the mice run around his cage and even play with his fur.

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"After his partner died last year we became very worried about Sandokan because he stopped eating and began gnawing at his own tail. It was very clear that he was mourning the loss. Other zoos tend to use medical treatments to cure animals of this sort of thing but that would have meant administering the drugs with a tranquilliser gun, which can be very traumatic for the animals," spokesman Madalin Serban said. "So we wanted to come up with a better solution and then we hit upon the idea of giving him a few live mice to play with, assuming that he would probably eat them. But instead he befriended them, making them into his new pals.

"Mice are great pets for humans as they are friendly and happily will interact but we didn't reckon a tiger would want them as a pet, but he did and now he is back to his old self. He happily lets the mice run around and play in his fur and the three live together just great."

Head Zookeeper Doru Ene said the unlikely friendship is like nothing anyone at the zoo has seen before. 

"It is certainly weird seeing mice in the cage with a tiger, but neither seems to have a problem with the other so why not?" Ene said. "I have however never seen anything like this and I was really surprised he didn't just eat the mice."

Source: Daily Mail / Photo Credit: dailymail.co.uk