I can’t believe I only just heard about this, it’s been in the news around the world several times for over a decade. I researched this to ensure it was true, Liz Bonin says so and so does Snopes; so all good.
It is an incredible tale of Humans being unforgivably cruel to three large predators with a heart warming and unuasual outcome.
In 2001 during a drugs bust in Atlanta, GA, three two-month-old cubs were found locked in a cellar in terrible condition.
An American Black Bear with a harness that hadn’t been expanded as he grew so skin had grown around it, a Lion with raw wounds to the face and a Bengal Tiger.
They required medical treatment, including an operation to remove the harness from the Bear. They were re-homed at Noah’s Ark Sanctuary, Locust Grove, GA. Handlers separated the trio but their behaviour declined terribly. When reunited the cubs became calm and content.
Twelve years later these predators, top of the food chain in their natural habitat, still live happily together. Balloo the bear, Leo the Lion and Shere Khan the Tiger. Live in the same enclosure together, play together and feed together.
Clearly this isn’t natural and would be wrong to be forced on any animal. However this unusual relationship is clearly how the poor creatures survived the cruel treatment they suffered as cubs. The mental anguish they suffered together through their physical maltreatment created a bond. Separating them clearly wasn’t healthy for them either as they all supported each other.
Here they are about three years ago I think. As you can see they have rather large sleeping quarters; obviously they need the space.
They still have a wide variety of toys to keep them occupied and plenty of space to roam to keep in shape.
Quite incredible how these magnificent, healthy creatures have endured the cruelty they faced.
Noah’s Ark Sanctuary also house a White Bengal Tiger, Zuri. I talked about White Tigers in a previous article where I considered Damian Aspinall’s position on Zoos.
White Tigers are not a sub species as some people think, it is a natural occurring mutation that does happen in the wild. the majority of White Tigers are Bengal Tigers.
In the wild the individuals are less likely to survive, of course it isn’t impossible. In captivity White Tigers are often so inbred that they have serious genetic abnormalities, often the cubs are destroyed at birth.
Zuri has such a poor immunity that she will need to be in an enclosure of her own for the rest of her life. Above is how she was before reaching Noah’s Ark Sanctuary and to the right how she looks now. The Sanctuary is still raising funds for a special enclosure for Zuri.
Still no word regarding the Polar Bears Lyra and Miki, now Autumn is here is a case of waiting for another Spring. Even if they survived last Winter their plight and that of the rest of the Polar Bears remains dire. While the Polar Icecap continues to deteriorate year-by-year the future of this species is at risk.
The orphaned cup, Cinderella has been seen on a camera trap. She is thriving having learnt hunting skills before her release. She still has sciatica unfortunately but in all other ways she seems pretty healthy for a cub that could so easily have died without the help of dedicated people.
Sadly at least two of the bears from the Study Group have been killed by hunters. First Dot then June, leaving Junes nine-month-old cubs orphans. Cups usually stay with mother for two years. The cubs’ older sister, Aster, was seriously wounded in an earlier incident. Happily the cubs have now been seen in the company of Aster and she is sharing food with them.