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How A Lion, Tiger And Bear Became Ride-Or-Die Friends

How A Lion, Tiger And Bear Became Ride-Or-Die Friends

“Their terrifying early months in life bonded the three together.”

“The BLT (bear, lion, tiger ― as they are known) exhibited signs of being a bonded trio from the moment we saw them when they arrived at Noah’s Ark,” Allison Hedgecoth, curator at Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary where the predators live, told The Huffington Post. 

“They were already seeking out one another for comfort and displayed affection by snuggling, grooming and playing with one another,” she said.

Their initial bond wasn’t unusual to Hedgecoth though; what surprised her was their enduring, 15-year friendship.

“Before they reach sexual maturity, a lot of times animals will form unique bonds with members of other species,” she told BBC, explaining that animals typically grow apart as they get older. “What was surprising is how they kept that bond, that family unit well into adulthood.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The three animals were only a few months old when police found them 15 years ago during a raid in the basement of a drug dealer’s house, according to the sanctuary.

“When they were first brought to the sanctuary, Baloo, Shere Khan and Leo were injured, frightened and clinging to one another for comfort,” Hedgecoth told HuffPost.

Leo, an African lion, had been inside a small crate and suffered from an open, infected wound on his nose. Baloo, an American black bear, was found wearing a harness that he had outgrown so much, it was embedded into his flesh, which had grown over and around it. Shere Khan, a bengal tiger, was severely underweight.

All three of the cubs were scared, malnourished and infected with parasites when the Georgia Department of Natural Resources brought them to Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary, a 250-acre nonprofit animal rescue in Locust Grove, Georgia.

The cubs’ living conditions had left them so damaged, the rescuers decided not to release them back into the wild and to keep them at the sanctuary instead, according to The Dodo.

Their friendship was so strong, the sanctuary even chose to keep all three in the same habitat.

Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan have been inseparable ever since.

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

For sanctuary staffers, the hardest part of watching over different species in the same enclosure is making sure that all their needs are met simultaneously, Hedgecoth told HuffPost. That includes their nutritional, medical and behavioral requirements.

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