Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lion, tiger and bear, oh my!

An unlikely friendship among 3 of the planet's top predators will leave you wondering, 'Why can't we all just get along?'

By Laura MossMon, Oct 24 2011 at 12:56 PM EST
Shere Khan, Leo and Baloo relax in their clubhouse at Noah’s Ark animal rescue center. 
BEST BUDS: Shere Khan, Leo and Baloo relax in their clubhouse at Noah’s Ark animal rescue center. (Photo: lemur baby/flickr)
Leo the lion, Shere Khan the tiger and Baloo the bear were found together as cubs during a police raid of a drug baron’s home in Atlanta where they were kept as status symbols. When the young trio moved to Noah’s Ark rescue center in Locust Grove, Ga., zookeepers decided to keep them together.
"We could have separated them, but since they came as a kind of family, the zoo decided to keep them together," Diane Smith, assistant director of the Noah's Ark zoo, told The Telegraph in 2009.
Although these predators — the 1,000-pound bear, 350-pound lion and 350-pound tiger — have the power to kill each other, they’re gentle giants who grew up together and treat each other as brothers. They, lounge, wrestle and play together, and the zoo's co-founders say the animals are oblivious to the fact that they aren’t natural companions.
"It is wonderful and magical to see a giant American black bear put his arm around a Bengal tiger and then to see the tiger nuzzle up to the bear like a domestic cat,” Smith said.
Shere Khan, Baloo and Leo still live and play together today at the animal rescue center, and visitors can observe the creatures, who live in a specially designed habitat with their very own “clubhouse.” Check out this video to see how well the unusual threesome get along.

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