They were together even as tiny cubs, found in Atlanta, Ga., during a police raid on the home of a drug baron. So perhaps that strange beginning helped forge this unusual friendship between Leo, Shere Khan and Baloo — a lion, a tiger and a bear.
Now, the trio lives together in their own purpose-built habitat at Noah’s Ark rescue center in Locust Grove, Ga., where they even have a creek to swim in.
They moved into the roughly $24,000 home after living with the zoo’s founders for eight years.
“To our knowledge, this is the only place where you’ll find this combination of animals together, they are our BLT, (bear, lion and tiger),” said Diane Smith, assistant director of the zoo at Noah’s Ark.
Visitors can watch the 1,000-pound bear, 350-pound lion and 350-pound tiger play together in the grass, or lounge on their porch.
Jama Hedgecloth, cofounder of the zoo, says the animals are “oblivious” to the fact that they wouldn’t be friends in nature. They share a bond that Hedgecloth and her husband Charles recognized early on.
“It is wonderful and magical to see a giant American black bear put his arm around a Bengal tiger and then to see the tiger nuzzle up to the bear like a domestic cat. When Leo wakes up, the three of them mess around for most of the day before they settle down to some food.”
“Noah’s Ark is their home and they could not possibly be separated from each other.”
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By Stephanie Rogers, MNN.com