Lions, and tigers and bears, oh my!
A lion, a tiger and a bear that are best friends may sound like the plot of an animated film, but in one US wildlife sanctuary, it’s real life.
That’s the story out of Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary in Locust Grove, Georgia where Baloo the bear, Leo the lion and Shere Kahn the tiger – known collectively as the “BLT” – are BFFs.
The BLT shares a three-acre habitat in the wildlife sanctuary, where they spend most of their time playing and seeking affection from one another.
“It’s really amazing that the BLT all interact like they do,” Noah’s Ark manager Allison Hedgcoth told NBC’s TODAY. “As far as we know, this is the only BLT in the world.”
The animals were rescued as cubs from the basement of an Atlanta drug dealer’s home more than thirteen years ago. The cubs were abused and neglected, kept in a dark room only as status symbols for the drug dealer. Baloo had a straddle attached to him that was fitted so tight that it was growing into his skin.
As traumatic as their experience was, it forced the three different cubs to form a tight bond with one another – one they never would have forged in the wild.
After they were rescued, state wildlife officials turned the cubs over to Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary, where they all made a full recovery.
Today, they play with each other, seek affection from one another and argue with each other just like a real family.
It’s incredible, because these three animals would have never met in the wild. Black bears are native to North America, tigers are native to Asia and lions are native to Africa.
Different homelands aside, these are fierce predators of the highest order. If they met in the wild, it probably would’ve ended ugly.
But the BLT are a family, and they will likely be a family until they all die.
“They teach you how to get along,” Hedgecoth told Today. “They’re definitely not the same color. They’re not the same species. They’re not even from the same country, and they love each other. They’re brothers, and they teach you how to love.”
In this video from BBC One filmed back in 2013, you’ll get to see how the three animals interact with each other.
Featured image via Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary/Youtube