We sometimes hear about “strange bedfellows” and there may be times when this occurs between different animals. The following story will convince you of the possibilities that exist in nature. It is about the bond that was formed between an American black bear, a Bengal tiger, and an African lion.
Bored Panda reported that Baloo the bear, Leo the lion, and Shere Khan have been living happily together at Noah’s Ark Animal Shelter in Georgia for almost 16 years. The trio of unlikely friends is usually known as BLT. They were rescued from the same basement of a house in Atlanta during a drug raid in 2001.
There were three bear cubs rescued by officials who had been suffering from severe abuse. Baloo was one of those cubs who had been stuck in the basement under terrible conditions. The harness that kept Baloo in place was too small and should have been adjusted as he grew.
Since it was not adjusted, his flesh started to grow over the harness and it required a surgical procedure to remove the harness and clean the wound. During the time that the operation took place, he was apart from his two friends, but since that time, they have been inseparable.
“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.
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After the bear was returned to his home, the three animals started living peacefully together. Although there have been quarrels on occasion, they were rare. Baloo is described as being “a very confident and relaxed bear.” He apparently also loves sweets and will do almost anything for them.
Shere Khan the tiger was malnourished and underweight when he was found. After being fed a good diet and being treated for parasites, he started to get healthier and gain weight. Out of the three animals, Shere Kahn is the most mischievous and he is always looking for affection from his two brothers. In 2014, the tiger was diagnosed with intervertebral disc disease. He was being treated for the issue, but in 2018, he passed away and joined Leo, his brother. Unfortunately, it was reported that “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.”
Leo passed away on August 11, 2016, after being diagnosed with a terminal disease. Veterinarians had discovered inoperable masses on the 15-year-old Lion’s liver. 80% of the liver had been occupied by the mass and it was decided that the animal should be allowed to pass on.
After the other animals were allowed to say their final goodbyes, he 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 feels that living in difficult conditions allowed them to bond. “Their terrifying early months in life bonded the three together and they are truly inseparable despite their obvious differences,” it explains.
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