A depressed tiger caged in a Romanian zoo shocked staff when he found a way to cope with his sorrow after losing his mate of 13 years. Since his mate died, he stopped eating and would only gnaw on his own tail. Sandokan had been at the zoo the whole time with another female he strongly bonded with. When she died, he mourned her to the point that staff tried bringing in another female tiger for Sandokan to socialize with. According to Opposing Views, the depressed tiger ignored her.
Zoo staff put two live mice inside Sandokan’s cage, hoping that a snack would cheer him up. To everyone’s surprise, the two mice served an entirely different purpose. They got to keep their lives when the predator used them as “pet mice.” Workers say the tiger allowed the mice to run around his cage and play in his fur.
Daily Mail reports that zoo spokesman, Madalin Serban, thought the mice would be a better alternative than using a tranquilizer gun on the tiger.
“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 tranquilizer gun, which can be very traumatic for the animals. 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, says this is a new type of friendship they’ve never witnessed before with animals. Ene says it looks funny seeing mice running around Sandokan’s cage, but none of them appear to have any problems with each other. Ene is shocked the depressed tiger didn’t “just eat the mice.”