You don’t usually see German Shepherds playing with Siberian tigers, not unless your kid is playing with all of his stuffed toys at once. But the Oasis of the Siberian Tiger isn’t your usual animal sanctuary, either.
The Oasis, which is located in a protected area of Slovakia, is home to 29 Siberian tigers, most of which were born on the property. Two of the tigers — 2-year-old Suria and her tiger cub, Sunny — have been raised around (and with) owner Iveta Iršova’s three dogs, Blacky, Hugo and Jenny, according to the Daily Mail. They’ve spent so much time together, in fact, that the animals seem to believe that they’re all part of the same blended family.
“The dogs are almost same age as Suria and have grown up together,” Oasis volunteer Martin Ziman told the Daily Mail. “They spend most of the time together. They are really like siblings and play together all day long. They never hurt each other.”
Photographer Lucia Zušťáková captured some incredible pictures of the unlikely interspecies “siblings” during their daily playtime.
“It is nice to see it all and it is so amazing when you are so near these beautiful animals,” she told the Daily Mail.
The Oasis of the Siberian Tiger opened in 1999 with the goal of saving the Siberian tiger from extinction. The big cat’s numbers have dwindled in recent years, due in part to poachers and the decline of its habitat near the border of Russia and China, according to the sanctuary’s website. The site states that all of the tigers at the Oasis are microchipped and DNA tested, presumably before they are bred with other residents of the sanctuary.
“It’s a great project to help these tigers that are facing extinction,” Zušťáková told the Daily Mail.
Anything that keeps the tigers healthy and happy is OK with us — especially if it results in beautiful pictures like these.