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Lion, Tiger, And Bear Lived Like Brothers For 15 Years — Oh My

Amy Pilkington 10 Jan 2020

If you're picturing a certain scene from The Wizard of Oz after reading that headline, I don't blame you, but in this case, the three animals in question aren't scary at all. In fact, they are beloved brothers.

For fifteen years, Baloo the bear, Leo the lion, and Shere Khan the tiger lived together at the Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary in Georgia.

The crew was called "BLT" by staff and fans.

Obviously, bears and big cats don't naturally go together.

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But BLT's story is a good example of nurture trumping nature. Even though their species would never cross paths in the wild, they bonded through early trauma and were inseparable from then on.

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In 2001, the three cubs were found in the basement of a home after a drug bust in Atlanta.

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The conditions were terrible. All three were malnourished and infested with parasites. Leo also had a wounded nose.

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However, it was Baloo who was in the most dire health.

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He was wearing a harness that had never been adjusted while he grew and his skin had fused around it.

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Baloo needed surgery to remove the harness and while he was separated from the cats, it became clear to rescuers that they belonged together.

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While he was having surgery, Shere Khan and Leo cried and paced, only calming down once Baloo was returned.

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After that, they were never separated again.

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For fifteen years, BLT lived together in a three-acre enclosure. They slept together, played together, and ate together.

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Sadly, in 2016, Leo passed away.

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Veterinarians discovered that more than 80% of his liver was covered in inoperable tumors and the choice was made to let him pass peacefully.

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Baloo and Shere Khan got to say goodbye and staff thinks it was likely they knew their brother was ill long before.

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Leo was buried next to their clubhouse, so that he'd always be close.

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Two years later, in 2018, Shere Khan also passed.

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Baloo stayed with him until the end and he was buried beside Leo.

Staff have been working hard to help Baloo through his grieving process and he's still happy to greet visitors to the sanctuary.

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Still, even though Leo and Shere Khan are gone, the legacy of BLT is one of hope.

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In a 2015 interview with The Telegraph volunteer Judi Peterson said:

"I think if a lion, a tiger and a bear can get along, people ought to be able to get along."

h/t: The Telegraph

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