One of the sweetest friendship trios you’ve ever seen, a lion, tiger, and bear were best buddies for over 15 years. The unbreakable bond was formed between the unlikely friends after they endured a hellish hardship together at the beginning of their lives.
It all began in 2001, when the cubs, an African lion (Leo), a Bengal tiger (Shere Khan), and a black bear (Baloo) were rescued from the basement of a drug dealer who lived in Atlanta, Georgia. All three animals were in desperate need of help.
The three cubs had been horribly abused and in great distress. Baloo was found wearing a harness that was so tight that it had cut into his skin and required surgery to remove, Leo had cuts on his face and was living in a tiny cage, and Shere Khan was seriously malnourished.
To discover wild animals living in such dire conditions was heartbreaking but fortunately they were rescued by Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary in Locust Grove, Georgia. Noah’s Ark is a 250-acre sanctuary for abused, unwanted, and neglected animals. They are a non-profit organization dedicated to providing unconditional love, unconditional service, a future and a hope to animals. They have over 1,500 animals of 100 different species. It costs $33,000 a month just to feed them all.
When the cubs arrived at the sanctuary, they had been through so much it was clear they would never be able to be returned to the wild. The staff quickly made plans to allow the three to live out their lives in peace there.
They received nourishment, medical care, and got to explore the grounds of their new home. They received lots of attention from the staff, who allowed the cubs to remain together to keep them calm and secure.
It was clear from the beginning that the cubs had a strong bond and it was in their best interest to remain together. They comforted each other, played together, settled into their new surroundings, and learned how to enjoy their new home.
As they grew, the staff predicted that one day they would outgrow each other and need to be separated but that day never came. They spent fifteen years together before the first of their trio, Leo sadly passed away in 2016. Shere Khan followed Leo to the bridge in 2018.
Baloo, who had never been separated from his friends except during his surgery to remove his harness, was comforted by the staff. They made sure he would not be lonely and lavished him with lots of attention. Despite the loss of his friends, it’s a comfort to know that the three were saved from terrible abuse and got to live out their remaining years together, in a safe and happy environment.
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