Lion, tiger and bear are hottest attraction at Noah's Ark

7:33 AM, Jul 12, 2013   |    comments
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MCDONOUGH, Ga. -- Of the 1,200 animals at Noah's Ark, there are three that are getting worldwide attention.

"I get messages all the time from New Zealand, Australia, Germany, India," said Kandi Allen of Noah's Ark, a not-for-profit animal sanctuary that cares for injured, abused and orphaned animals.

PHOTOS | "BLT" at Noah's Ark defies nature

A lion named Leo, a Bengal tiger named Shere Khan and a North American black bear named Baloo live together in the same habitat.

"They sleep together, play together, eat together," Allen told 11Alive's Jennifer Leslie. "I think it would be cruel at this point to separate them because they've always been together."

Allen said the animals would never interact in the wild. They would live on different continents.

"They would never see each other in any other situation other than this right here," Allen added.

The animals came to Noah's Ark together 12 years ago after they were confiscated from an Atlanta drug dealer who used the illegal exotic animals as status symbols.

"They were still cubs, so they were bottle-fed," Allen said. "Baloo had a harness on him that had grown into his skin, so they had to do surgery and remove that harness."

Since then, all three have thrived. At 700 pounds, Baloo is the boss. But Shere Khan is considered the most powerful.
And Leo is a typical lion who keeps to himself and sleeps a lot.

Noah's Ark calls the trio "BLT."

"They've lived together quite nicely for 12 years, and they're depressed if you remove them from each other," Allen said. "It just works. They've figure out a way to make this work, and it's beautiful."

You can visit Noah's Ark and see the "BLT" for free, but donations are encouraged since the nonprofit relies on them

You can get even closer to the animals with a behind-the-scenes tour called "Walk on the Wild Side." It's $50 per person.

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