You may have all seen some charming bonds among animals. And that may range from dogs to cows, doves to foxes and cats. There is even a bond between a giraffe and an ostrich. But nothing compares to these three unexpected buddies, an American black bear, an African lion, and a Bengal tiger, living peacefully.
Bears, tigers, and lions are three often hostile male predators. Yet, Leo the lion, Baloo the bear, and Shere Khan, the tiger, are a rare trio that went through hardship together and forged a lifetime friendship.
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The bitter past of the trio
The authorities discovered the trio in 2001 after they searched a dealer’s home in Atlanta, Georgia. When the police explored the cellar, they found three terrified and hungry cubs afflicted with parasites. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources sent the three scared animals to NAAS or the Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary, a non-profit animal refuge in Locust Grove, Georgia.
When did their friendship start?
From the moment the trio was rescued, they became inseparable. The sanctuary decided to keep them instead of letting them go in the wild because of the traumatic experience they may have had. These three animals snuggled, played, and groomed each other as they bonded and became more comfortable. With that, the three animals naturally built a strong connection with each other.
The birth of the famous BLT
The name BLT was created by some individuals representing the unexpected bond between a bear, a lion, and a tiger. As people can see how the three live, eat, play, and sleep together, identifying them as a trio comes to mind. And that’s how BLT was formed and became well-known.
1. Baloo, the bear
The name Baloo was a bear character from The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. Generally, the sanctuary keepers decided to name him Baloo as they could see the same colorful bear from the popular Disney movie.
2. Leo, the lion
Leo is the African lion in the trio. The sanctuary keepers liked to name the three of them based on the characters of The Jungle Book. So they tried to look for a lion character in the book. Unfortunately, they did not find one, so instead, they agreed to name him after the star sign Leo.
3. Shere Khan, the tiger
Shere Khan, the tiger, is the last cub rescued, together with his other two brothers. Shere Khan is a name of a tiger for a particular character in The Jungle Book. So with that, the sanctuary keepers decided to name him Shere Khan. They knew Shere Khan was the most suitable name for a noble tiger like him when they first met him.
The trio’s bond will continue
The trio is full of fun and enjoyment every day because they have each other. Unfortunately, Leo the lion passed away in 2016 because his liver was no longer functional. With that, the vets decided it would be best to put him to sleep.
However, the sanctuary keepers did not let Leo go without seeing his two brothers. And Leo was revived by the vets for one last time to let him say goodbye to his brothers. So when Baloo and Shere Khan saw Leo, they snugged each other without knowing it would be the last time.
After that, the vets put Leo to sleep. Then, the sanctuary keepers monitored how the two brothers were. They were worried that Baloo and Shere Khan could experience some depression after Leo’s death. Fortunately, the two brothers accepted the truth quickly because they knew they still had each other and their connection would never fade regardless of the situation.
Baloo and Shere Khan understand that their bond helps them cope and strengthens them. In 2018, Shere Khan passed away, leaving Baloo as the last member of BLT. The bear managed to deal with the loss as he knew they were still together.
Proof that true friendship exists
The story of this unusual trio proves that genuine friendships exist, which may even last for a lifetime. Although the trio was from different species, they lived and bonded well. With the trauma they had in the past, they overcame it by staying with each other. Through the animal’s strong bonds with each other, they survived the past and enjoyed the rest of their lives.