Monday, January 25, 2010

I Love Animal Stories Like This

My friend Pam always sends the sweetest animal related stories my way (we are both big time animal lovers). This one was meant to be shared --just unbelievable. (Thanks Pam).
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! The Jungle Book predators who have forged a lifelong friendship...

December 2009

They make an unlikely trio, but Baloo the bear, Leo the lion and Shere Khan the tiger have forged an unusually strong bond.

Considering that they would be mortal enemies if they ever were to meet in the wild, it is stunning to see their unique and genuine friendship in these intimate pictures.

Rescued eight years ago during a police drugs raid in Atlanta, Georgia, the three friends were only cubs at the time at barely two months old.  

They had been kept as status symbol pets by the drug barons.

Delivered to the Noah's Ark Animal Rescue Centre in Locust Grove, Georgia, the decision was made to keep the youngsters together, because of their budding rapport.

'We could have separated them, but since they came as a kind of family, the zoo decided to keep them together,' said Diane Smith, assistant director of Noah's Ark.  

'To our knowledge, this is the only place where you'll find this combination of animals together.'

Living with the zoo's founders for the past eight years, Shere Khan, Baloo and Leo have now moved to a purpose-built habitat where the US public can now witness first hand their touching relationships.

'We didn't have the money to move them at first,' said Diane.

'Now their habitat is sorted and they have been moved away from the children's zoo areas where the public couldn't really get a good look.

'It is possible to see Baloo, who is a 1000lb bear, Shere Khan, a 350lb tiger and Leo, who is also 350lbs, messing around like brothers.

'They are totally oblivious to the fact that in any other circumstance they would not be friends.'  

Handled by Charles and Jama Hedgecoth, the zoo's owners and founders, the three friendly giants appear to have have no comprehension of their animal differences.

'Baloo and Shere Khan are very close,' says Diane.

'That is because they rise early, and as Leo is a lion, he likes to spend most of the day sleeping.

'It is wonderful and magical to see a giant American Black Bear put his arm around a Bengal and then to see the tiger nuzzle up to the bear like a domestic cat.

'When Leo wakes up the three of them mess around for most of the day before they settle down to some food.' 

Surprisingly for three apex predators with the power to kill with a single bite or swipe of their paw, they are very relaxed around each other.

'They eat, sleep and play together,' said Jama.

'As they treat each other as siblings they will lie on top of each other for heat and simply for affection.

'At the moment they are getting used to their new habitat.

'Shere Khan is being quite reticent about the move, but Baloo, the bear, is very good at leading him on and making him feel comfortable and safe.'  

Explaining that the three 'brothers' have always seemed to share a unique bond, Charles said: 'Noah's Ark is their home and they could not possibly be separated from each other.

'You just have to remember who you're dealing with when you are with them, though.

'It's when you forget that these fellows are wild animals that you get yourself in trouble.'  

The trio's new habitat had to be constructed carefully, in order to accommodate its occupants.

Jama said: 'The clubhouse had to be very sturdy for the guys, because they all sleep in it together,'  

She added: 'We had to include a creek, because the tiger and the bear both like to be in water.' 


  1. They are simply precious. Thank you for sharing this story. I love happy endings.

  2. Oh my goodness - what a lovely story accompanied by wonderful photos! I particularly like the one with the bear's paw "hugging" the tiger.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. This is so sweet! I really love hearing about stories like this...makes me believe the world is a better place =O)

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. What a great story...thanks for sharing. The photos are so sweet!

  5. What a beautiful story. I want to see them for myself. They look so happy and so natural in their environment.

    BTW, loved the look of your libraries in your other post. I could live in them, quite happily.

  6. I'm so glad that Noah's Ark is finally getting some attention. It's located about an hour south of where I live.

    This is a great place. Not only do they have all types of animals, they also house children who are having problems. They children help with the animals and learn how to trust and love again.

    Noah's Ark came into the news here in Atlanta a few years ago when a young zebra was found on the side of the interstate. Noah's Ark came and got him. He was badly injured - probably had fallen from a truck then hit by a car - and had to be sent to Alabama for surgery. He was "evidence" in the police investigation and thus was named Evidence. He now has his permanent home at Noah's Ark and is doing just fine.

    Noah's Ark runs on donations - they are open to the public a few days a week at no charge, but donations are more than welcome. I've donated to them many times, for the animals and the children.

    They're doing a great thing there and deserve all the attention they can get.

  7. This story and the pictures are just beautiful. I'm glad that they kept them all together. Love these kind of stories!

  8. Lynne, I'm so glad to hear what you said about Noah's Ark. How great that you got to see the place firsthand as well.

  9. I live near Atlanta & have always heard about Noah's Ark and wanted to visit. Thanks for the reminder! This will definitely be a spring outing for me!

  10. Wonderful story and pictures. Thanks for sharing - that just made my day.

  11. Awww. Nothing like a good unlikely-animal-friendship story to brighten your day. :)

  12. How cool! And I love love love the photos.

  13. How how how cute and adorable!! Thanks for sharing this! I loved it!


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