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Bear, Lion And Tiger’s Story Of Survival And Lasting Friendship Forged While They Were Still Cubs [Video]



  • Three cubs, a bear, a lion and a tiger, were found in the basement during a police raid in a drug dealer’s house in 2001.
  • The cubs were rescued and brought to the Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary where they lived as brothers for the rest of their lives sharing the same habitat.
  • Baloo is the lone survivor of the trio as Leo died in 2016 and Shere Khan in 2018.

Bears, lions and tigers living together in harmony may be a far-fetched occurrence but the story of Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan is proof that it could happen.  Their story of survival and enduring friendship is one for the books.

The BLT huddle

Have you heard the story of how The BLT – Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan came to be? Baloo the American black bear, Leo the African lion, and Shere Khan the Bengal tiger; known as “The BLT” came to Noah’s Ark in 2001 after they were discovered by police officers in a basement of an Atlanta home during a drug raid. At only a few months old, all three cubs were frightened, malnourished, and infected with internal and external parasites when the Georgia Department of Natural Resources brought them to Noah’s Ark. Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan eat, sleep, and play together and even seek out grooming and affection from one another, head rubbing and licking each another. Their terrifying early months in life bonded the three together and they are truly inseparable despite their obvious differences. How far can we spread their story? Please share. 🙂 <3 www.noahs-ark.orgPosted by Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary on Saturday, 6 June 2015

When police raided a drug dealer’s house in Atlanta, Georgia in 2001, their hearts were broken to find the three cubs together in the basement.  They certainly did not belong there.  They were in an appalling state— malnourished, parasite-ridden and terrified. 

Baloo the black bear had a harness that was too small for him, it was already cutting into his skin. Leo the African lion had an open wound on his face and was in a small crate while Shere Khan the Bengal tiger was skin and bones.

Their rescue became the start of the big turnaround in their lives.  The cubs were brought to the nonprofit rescue, Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.  The 250-acre property really became the animals’ refuge. 

Photo Credit: Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary (Facebook)

As sanctuary curator Allison Hedgecoth shared in the HuffPost, “When they were first brought to the sanctuary, Baloo, Shere Khan, and Leo were injured, frightened and clinging to one another for comfort.” She added, “And as they got more comfortable, they groomed each other, cuddled, and played together. Clearly, they were a bonded trio.

The sanctuary became the witness to the beautiful and enduring friendship forged while they were cubs until they turned into adults. They did not grow apart as the staff had anticipated based on other wild animals’ behavior.

The trio, who became known as BLT (bear, lion, tiger), were never really apart from each other.  It was natural for the sanctuary to keep them together.

Photo Credit: Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary (Facebook)

They can be found together with the affectionate Shere Khan snuggling with either his brothers and the playful Baloo teasing Leo with gentle bites.

In an Inside Edition story, Allison shared, “Even though they live in a three-acre enclosure, they’re usually within 100 feet of each other.” Allison continued, “That’s proof that they’re not just coexisting or cohabiting, they actually do enjoy each other’s company.”

And that is how they were for the 15 years that they spent together at the sanctuary— living, sleeping, playing and eating. Their shared traumatic experience at the hands of their former owners and surviving that, have made their bond stronger.

Photo Credit: Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary (Facebook)

Leo passed away in 2016 and Shere Khan in 2018.  Baloo was there to lay his brothers to rest just as he was there in their final days. Sanctuary staff are making sure Baloo knows he isn’t alone, although his brothers are gone.

May Leo and Shere Khan welcome you into the rainbow bridge when it is your time to go, Baloo.  Meanwhile, please know you are loved.

Source: Inspire More