Lion, Tiger, and Bear Share Lifelong Bond

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.”

More from

Win a year’s supply of dog food: Enter the Green Dog of the Year contest.

Endemic species: Top 9 lonely animals.

Lazarus species: 13 extinct animals found alive.

By Stephanie Rogers,


Nancy Hatcher
Nancy Hatcher6 years ago

If these three natural enemies can get along why can't we?!? Maybe we should take children from every country and every political group and let them grow-up & share their lives together.
Maybe, just maybe, they could learn to get along as well as the "BLT" team!

Maria D'Oporto
Past Member 6 years ago

Good they have long life friends but so sd they were taken out form their real homes and never will be able to be back to be free. Greedy people never will understand animals are not posessions.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W6 years ago

Excellent article.

Tammy P.
Tammy P6 years ago

This is such an amazing story. I'm so surprised that their natural instinct didn't kick in for them to realize that they were all enemies. It's so wonderful to see this. Just like back in the real Noah's Ark day. Love this story!

Dresia Vaughn
Dresia Vaughn6 years ago

Wow, now that's amazing.

Jenna L.
Jenna L7 years ago

they're so cute.. i wish there were videos!

K s Goh
KS Goh7 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Tim Cheung
Tim C7 years ago


Elizabeth Aldam
Elizabeth Aldam7 years ago

Great story!Great they can stay tether in Noah`s Ark!

Elizabeth Aldam
Elizabeth Aldam7 years ago

A great story,so happy they are together in Noah `Ark!