Did I fool you there with the title? Well, if I did, my apologies, I am not discussing a sandwich but a BLT that is far superior for many a-reason. You see, BLT stands for bear, lion, tiger, and they are a dynamic trio of inter-species best friends who are now happily residing at Noah’s Ark animal sanctuary.
While life for BLT now is all fun, games, and snuggles, the life they led before coming to Noah’s Ark certainly was not. Baloo the American Black Bear, Leo the African Lion, and Shere Khan the Bengal Tiger were all born in early 2001 and were found living in the basement of a drug dealer in Atlanta, Ga., in the summer of 2001. These three animals were no more than one year old when they were discovered by police officers amidst a drug raid. When officials found Shere Khan, Baloo, and Leo, they were all malnourished, terrified of humans, and infected with both internal and external parasites.
Shere Khan was the best off of the three and quickly recovered with treatment and a healthy diet upon arrival at Noah’s Ark. Leo was in worse shape with an infected wound on his nose from being confined to a crate that was far too small. Baloo however, had it the worst of the three, after being constrained in a harness that had never been loosened to accommodate his size.
The harness had to be surgically removed from his skin. The time it took Baloo to undergo surgery was the ONLY time that the three had been separated (and would be thereafter). During the short time Baloo was separated from his brothers, Shere Khan and Leo were visibly agitated, pacing back and forth until he returned. Seeing this, members of Noah’s Ark never considered separating the three to live with their own species, but decided they would stay together.
Kandi Allen from Noah’s Ark tells OGP that after Baloo’s surgery, BLT’s recovery, “progressed at pretty much the same pace…we believed they are so bonded through their mutual abuse and neglect.”
Using one another as a support system, the three were able to adjust to their new, happy home and have grown into the incredible animals they were always meant to be.
Allen tells OGP, “We think their personalities have developed quite nicely and are in tune with the animal that they are. Baloo is gentle and slow, Shere Khan is mischievous and Leo is just Leo.”
From the pictures of the three, it is clear that personality is not lacking among the three. Just check out Shere Khan photobombing Baloo for this selfie:
Of the three, Shere Kane is considered the “bottom of the totem pole” and is always pouncing on Baloo and Leo, looking to instigate some fun. He is also the most affectionate of the trio and is always looking to rub heads with Baloo and Leo and makes sure to keep their fur neat and well-groomed.
Leo is the more stoic of the group and enjoys lounging and keeping watch over his brothers, that is when he isn’t napping, or posing for pictures…
Thirteen years after their rescue, these three are still as close as ever. Not a day goes by that they don’t play, eat, and sleep together in the shelter of their clubhouse at Noah’s Ark.
Allen tells OGP, ” [BLT shows] that everybody can put aside their differences and get along, these three animals certainly teach that.”
Busting apart the myth that species cannot coexist, BLT’s story is one that can resound with us all. It is unfortunate that a traumatic early life is what brought these three together, but we can all be glad they’ve now found a happy new life and the best friends they could ever ask for.
Check out this video for more on the story of BLT:
To learn more about Noah’s Ark and to follow the adventures of BLT, check out the Noah’s Ark Facebook page and website. You can help keep Baloo, Shere Khan, and Leo in toys and treats by donating to the sanctuary here.