Sammy Nickalls
March 03, 2016 7:48 am

Dorothy may have been terrified by the idea of lions, tigers, and bears in The Wizard of Oz, but one trio is proving that she got it all wrong.

The Dodo reports that Baloo the black bear, Leo the lion, and Shere Khan the tiger were rescued by Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary (NAAS) 15 years ago as cubs after being found in a basement in Atlanta, Georgia during a drug raid. They were malnourished and infected with parasites. Now, they’re all living happily at the sanctuary in Locust Grove, Georgia. . . and they’re absolute best friends.

The trio, which NAAS calls “The BLT,” each have their own personalities. Shere Khan is described as the “mischievous” one of the three, always pouncing on the other two—although he also is the one who wants the most attention. Baloo is “confident and relaxed” and adores sweets. Leo is “stoic” and has a passion for naps, but he “turns into a different cat” during playtime and is “always the first to grab a new toy.”

The three sustained such serious injuries from their early life that they were deemed unfit for the wild even after rehabilitation, so they have been living out their years on the sanctuary, always together as the ultimate BFFs. “All three are still equally affectionate with one another,” NAAS curator Allison Hedgecoth told The Dodo. “Shere Khan has always been mischievous, and even though he is getting older this hasn’t changed him one bit.”

Only once were they separated—when Baloo had to get surgery as a cub to remove the harness that hadn’t been loosened as he grew—and Shere Khan and Leo “became extremely agitated because of it, pacing and vocalizing for the lost member of their family to return,” NAAS explained on their site. “After his surgery, Baloo was returned to his brothers and the three have been together ever since, with hardly a quarrel between them.” CUTENESS.

If you’d like to make a donation to NAAS to help the adorable trio and the other animals the sanctuary takes care of, you can do so here.

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