This incredible story is about the beautiful bond shared among an American black bear, an African lion, and a Bengal tiger.
It's not every day that we get the opportunity to witness the unlikely friendship between different kinds of animals. This incredible story is about the beautiful bond shared among an American black bear, an African lion, and a Bengal tiger. According to Bored Panda, Baloo the bear, Leo the lion, and Shere Khan the tiger spent almost 16 years coexisting in harmony at Noah’s Ark Animal Shelter in Georgia. The inseparable trio, popularly known as BLT, was rescued from the basement of a house in Atlanta in 2001 during a police drug raid.
Baloo was one of three cubs who had been rescued by officials after suffering a heartbreaking ordeal of severe abuse. Apparently, they had been kept in the basement of the house under terrible conditions. Baloo was attached to harnesses that should have been adjusted as he was growing up. As it hadn't been done, his flesh began growing over it, and to remove this ingrown harness, they had to perform a surgical procedure to clean his deep and infected would. The operation was the only time that the three of them had been apart, and his friends Shere Khan and Leo began feeling his absence.
"During Baloo's surgery was the only time the three BLT brothers have ever been separated from one another, and Shere Khan (tiger) and Leo (lion) became extremely agitated because of it, pacing and vocalizing for the lost member of their family to return," noted the shelter's website. After Baloo's return, the three of them began living in peace with hardly any quarrels among themselves. Describing Baloo as "a very confident and relaxed bear" the site reveals that he will do anything for a sweet treat.
When Shere Khan the tiger was found, he was underweight and malnourished. However, with treatment for his parasites and a good diet, the cub grew healthy and gained appetite, energy, and weight. Shere Khan was said to be the most mischievous of the three, however, he was the one who constantly seeks affection from his brothers and could be seen rubbing heads and grooming his besties. Things looked a bit grim when he was diagnosed with intervertebral disc disease in 2014. Although he was responding well to the treatment, in 2018 he joined his brother Leo across the rainbow bridge after the "test results confirmed there was absolutely nothing else that could be done for our sweet boy."
Describing his final moments, the shelter wrote, "Shere Khan passed away in the arms of his main caregiver, inside his straw-filled tunnel with Baloo nearby. He heard soft words of adoration whispered in his ear and felt the warmth of loving, comforting strokes on his beautiful face as he very peacefully closed his big green eyes and took his last breath."
Their brother Leo, unfortunately, passed away on August 11, 2016. The 15-year-old lion was diagnosed with a terminal disease after veterinarians discovered inoperable masses in Leo's liver during an operation. The mass had occupied over 80% of the organ and thus the shelter had to make the heart-wrenching decision of letting the animal go. His family was able to say their final goodbyes to their cherished member and was "buried by the trio’s clubhouse, which was their favorite resting spot." The shelter noted that "it is highly likely that Baloo and Shere Khan knew their lion brother was terminally ill long before Leo began displaying outward symptoms."
"Even in death, Baloo, Shere Khan, and Leo will always be together," it added. Before Leo died, the trio (Baloo, Leo, and Shere Khan) would "eat, sleep, and play together and even seek out grooming and affection from one another, head rubbing and licking each another." The shelter suggests that their critical living conditions might have helped them bond so well. "Their terrifying early months in life bonded the three together and they are truly inseparable despite their obvious differences," it explains. Now, Baloo lives on keeping the memory of his beloved brothers alive in his mind.