Friendship
Lion, bear, and tiger form devoted lifelong friendship after being rescued as baby cubs
The caretaker had planned to separate them before they were fully grown, but they refused to be apart. ❤️
Cherie Gozon
03.28.22

Bears, lions, and tigers – we know they are kings of their territories.

YouTube Screenshot - Inside Edition
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YouTube Screenshot - Inside Edition

All three of these animals are incredibly powerful and vicious predators in the wild. It’s safe to say that we could expect a rumble if they were to meet in one place.

But what if we told you they could be best of friends too?

YouTube Screenshot - Inside Edition
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YouTube Screenshot - Inside Edition

You might wonder, “how is that even possible?” Well, it is, because these three have been best of friends since they were cubs.

What do they have in common? A sad story that led them to find refuge in each other.

Baloo, Leo, and Shere Khan were rescued from a drug dealer’s basement where they were being kept as pets.

YouTube Screenshot - Inside Edition
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YouTube Screenshot - Inside Edition

They were in bad shape back then. Leo and Shere Khan had wounds and blisters on their noses, while Baloo had a harness strapped onto his body that caused health problems as he grew.

The police turned over the three cubs to Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources.

YouTube Screenshot - Inside Edition
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YouTube Screenshot - Inside Edition

The staff there recognized that these three needed special attention and care, especially considering the state of their health. The department knew they weren’t equipped to accommodate and take care of them fully.

The authorities immediately reached out to Jama Hedgecoth of Noah’s Ark Wildlife Sanctuary.

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YouTube Screenshot - Inside Edition

She never thought twice about taking in the three cubs. The sanctuary even built a cottage where the three cubs stayed.

Jama planned to separate the three from each other before they were fully grown.

YouTube Screenshot - Inside Edition
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YouTube Screenshot - Inside Edition

They knew that it would be a rumble once they grew into adults.

However, that effort turned futile because the three of them missed each other.

YouTube Screenshot - Inside Edition
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YouTube Screenshot - Inside Edition

Jama said that when they were separated, the three would cry for eight to nine hours! Jama realized that they were just babies and probably were looking for the familiar comfort they found in each other.

Years later, Baloo, Leo, and Shere Khan still had never separated.

YouTube Screenshot - Inside Edition
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YouTube Screenshot - Inside Edition

Also known as BLT (Bear-Lion-Tiger), the trio became a popular attraction in the wildlife sanctuary as the three played with each other.

Like any other friendship, they do have some petty fights, too.

YouTube Screenshot - Inside Edition
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YouTube Screenshot - Inside Edition

According to Jama, Baloo was the head of the pack followed by Leo. On the other hand, Shere Khan didn’t mind who was superior. Though he constantly challenged that through play fights.

These three cared for each other, and their bond was evident when Leo and Shere Khan passed.


Leo died first of a liver tumor, and both Baloo and Shere Khan were on his side to say their goodbyes.

Shere Khan died two years after due to a brain tumor.

Baloo was by his side the whole time, giving him the comfort and assurance that it would be alright when he crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

Noah’s Ark Wildlife Sanctuary continued to look after Baloo.


He missed his brothers so much, and the sanctuary feared that he might feel depressed. They found his tunnel empty multiple times as Baloo wandered and looked for his brothers. They assured all BLT fans that they would look after his welfare.

Learn more about this unique interspecies friendship in the video below!

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By Cherie Gozon
hi@sbly.com
Cherie Gozon is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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