Remember the scene from “The Wizard of Oz,” before meeting the Cowardly Lion, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, when the Tin Woodman chant, “Lions, Tigers, and Bears! Oh, my!” This might have been a reference to creatures from the book called Kalidahs, which are essentially hybrids of the aforementioned animals. While “tiger bears” probably do not exist in real life, a recent story reveals these animals could still at least get along, as a tiger, a lion, and a bear becoming friends and blood-brothers in Georgia.
Baloo the bear, Leo the lion, and Shere Khan the tiger grew to love each other and see each other as one of their own at an enclosure at Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary, and lived there was at least 15 years.
They had been rescued from a drug raid together, and were originally found starved and malnourished back in 2001. According to The Independent, a statement from the sanctuary explains that, “Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan eat, sleep, and play together and even seek out grooming and affection from one another, head rubbing and licking each another.”
All that the three had went through together before their rescue is believed to have been what bonded them all together. “Their terrifying early months in life bonded the three together and they are truly inseparable despite their obvious differences,” the sanctuary stated.
Fans collectively called the three “BLT,” an acronym for their species’ names. It almost makes you wish they named Shere Khan “Tony” so it could also have been an acronym for their given names, too!
Reportedly, the three are so close, the only time they were separated was a major event when Baloo was forced to receive surgery on his paw.
According to a statement, “Shere Khan the tiger and Leo the lion became extremely agitated because of it, pacing and vocalizing for the lost member of their family to return. … After his surgery, Baloo was returned to his brothers and the three have been together ever since, with hardly a quarrel between them.”
According to the Daily Mail, Leo eventually left his brothers when surgery revealed that his liver had been filled with tumors.
“The heart wrenching decision was made to let him go,” said the sanctuary in a statement, adding that, “Animals are so perceptive and with the incredible bond the BLT had since being rescued together from a drug dealer’s basement in 2001, it is highly likely that Baloo and Shere Khan knew their lion brother was terminally ill long before Leo began displaying outward symptoms.”
The sanctuary’s Liv Necastro wrote on Facebook that, “He is watching over you guys, but most importantly he is watching over his brothers. They have been through thick and thin, hell and back, but the day you rescued them all together it was like heaven for them.”