Noah's Ark 

Three Brothers

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.

"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."  The three friendly giants appear to have no comprehension of their animal differences. "Baloo and Shere Khan are very close," says Diane.



"It is wonderful and magical to see a giant American Black Bear put his arm around a Bengal Tiger."

and then to see the lion nuzzle up to the bear like a domestic cat.

Charles and Jama Hedgecoth, are the zoo's owners and founders.






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


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 clubhouse had to be very sturdy for the guys, because they all sleep in it together,' Jama said.  "We had to include a creek, because the tiger and the bear both like to be in water."