A lifelong bond was formed between three unlikely friends after they suffered terrible hardships together.
In 2001, Leo, an African lion, Shere Khan, a Bengal tiger, and Baloo, a black bear, were saved from their hellish living conditions.
The trio was found in Atlanta, in the basement of a drug dealer. They had been horribly abused and all three cubs were in great distress.
Baloo was wearing a harness that was so tight that it had cut into his skin, Leo had a cut across his face and had been shoved into a tiny cage, and Shere Khan was dangerously malnourished.
It was a heartbreaking situation; the three were only cubs and had already suffered so much.
But once they’d been discovered, they were promptly rescued and brought to Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary in Locust Grove.
The three cubs had been through too much to ever be able to return to the wild, but they were very happy to get to enjoy the vast grounds of the sanctuary and to receive plenty of love and care from the dedicated staff.
It was clear from the beginning that the three had been bonded by their experience. They sought comfort from each other when they were worried and showered each other in love by playing together and grooming each other.
The staff expected that they would eventually outgrow each other and that they would probably need to be separated at some point, but even as they grew older they remained best friends.
They spent 15 happy years together; playing, cuddling, teasing each other and sleeping together. The horrors of their youth faded from their minds as they made new, happy, loving memories together.
In 2016 Leo passed away, shortly followed by the death of Shere Khan in 2018. Baloo stayed close to his dear friends in their final days and was there for their burials too.
Though Leo and Shere Kahn may have passed away, Baloo isn’t alone. He still carries the happy memories he made with his friends, and the sanctuary staff makes sure to keep him company.
The beautiful friendship of the BLT will never be forgotten. The three friends show us that family doesn’t always mean blood, and that even our darkest moments can one day be replaced by love and light.