Normally opposing predators, like lions, tigers and bears try to stay away from each other. But when confronted, they may fight to the death. However, who would win is up for debate?
Bodacious writer-for-hire Blake Snow posed an interesting question in this regard: Which beast would win in a tournament of mortal combat: the lion or king of the jungle, the tiger or the ferocious striped feline, or a godless marauding killing machine (aka bear)? His final conclusion was the Bengal tiger.
Today's story proposes a surprising different outcome.
Raised as BLT, they become BFFs
If these three opponents were raised together as cubs, they just might become best friends forever [aka BFFs]. This tale is about Leo the African lion, Shere Khan, the Bengal tiger and Baloo, the black bear. Together they make up the trio, known as BLT, [or bear, lion and tiger].
When they were first found, Baloo, Shere Khan, and Leo were injured, frightened and clinging to one another for comfort noted Allison Hedgecoth, curator at Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary in Locust Grove, Georgia.
In 2001, rescued as cubs from a drug dealer's house in Atlanta, Georgia, they experienced abuse in their early years. Based on this shared experience, these three [otherwise] wild animals bonded with each other.
“The BLT exhibited signs of being a bonded trio from the moment we saw them when they arrived at Noah’s Ark,” said Hedgecoth, where this trio lives to this day.
Bond Survived to Adulthood . . .
Their enduring friendship surprised the animal behaviorists.
“Before they reach sexual maturity, a lot of times animals will form unique bonds with members of other species,” Hedgeworth explained that animals typically grow apart as they get older. “What was surprising is how they kept that bond, that family unit well into adulthood.”
Most often inseparable, “even though they live in a three-acre enclosure, they’re usually within 100 feet of each other,” Hedgecoth noted. “That’s proof that they’re not just coexisting or cohabiting, they actually do enjoy each other’s company.”
They’re seen cuddling together as well. Shere Khan was noted as the most affectionate. He often rubs against Baloo and Leo.
“Their individual personalities as well as their group dynamic has not changed much throughout their 15 years together,” Hedgecoth added.
Perhaps humans of different races and creeds could take a lesson from this dynamic. Yes, living together from birth helps in this process. But the care and love of these three natural predators underscores the fact it's not impossible to co-exist and co-habit on the planet we all share.
Primary Source: Huffpost