For the Love of Leo

  • Posted on: 31 March 2017
  • By: Gina

I read a story on the Web today that touched my heart. It made me smile, and it made me cry. It also made me angry. I smiled because I love animals. If I could, I would adopt every orphaned animal on the face of the earth and toss those who abuse animals in a bottomless pit. The story of Leo, Shere Khan and Baloo made me cry because although they had been rescued, and lived a long and comfortable life together, as babies they did suffer from the hands of someone who I hope has suffered everyday since they were removed from his home. And it made me so angry that someone would do something harmful to them at all. Look at the pictures, look at those sweet faces, the depth of love in their eyes and you will understand my feelings.   I mean, look at them, they are so heartwarming, they're family, they love each other, just as people do.

Here is the article and pictures, published online by, images by Bored Panda, and another article by Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary, where they finally were able to enjoy their lives together, published onlin at  I hope it touches your hearts as much as it did mine and Liz's.                    


"Three animals went viral last year after the story of their friendship surfaced on the net. The lion, bear, and tiger had shared a tortured past from infancy and through it, they became inseparable friends. The three brothers spent 15 years together at the Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary together.  (their house)


However, in August 2016, the sanctuary revealed that one of the trio had sadly died. The sanctuary released a statement on Facebook, stating that on August 11, they said goodbye to “our beloved Leo.” Prior to his death, Leo had been severely ill and was scheduled for “exploratory abdominal surgery. Unfortunately, the operation revealed the worst. “During the procedure, our veterinarians discovered that over 80% of Leo’s liver was full of inoperable masses.” They decided to let Leo go. However, before he passed, his brothers were allowed to say one final farewell. According to staff at the sanctuary, Leo’s death wouldn’t have come as a surprise to his brothers as they seemed to be conscious of his health problems before the carers! The staff added that the surviving brothers are “perceptive” and that they “knew their lion brother was ill long before Leo began displaying outward symptoms.”

Since the bond between all three animals was so close, the sanctuary staff are closely monitoring the brothers, but have said they are coping “remarkably well.” Leo will also be missed by humans and, so, the sanctuary staff organized a ‘celebration of life’ to remember him by. The entire event was broadcast on social media, which was a real comfort forpeople who couldn’t make it. Volunteers baked cakes, a photo wall was adorned with images and flowers and everyone filled

                                          Leo’s memorial book with touching messages.




To further commemorate his memory, a lion statue was placed on his grave next to the clubhouse where the trio would spend their time together. The two surviving brothers then paid a heart-wrenching tribute to Leo the lion when they first saw the lion statue for the first time and rubbed themselves against it, showing love for their dearly departed brother.   Guests watched, wiping tears from their eyes, as the two brothers investigated the site.

The touching story of the trio began 16 years ago when police carried out a drug raid on a house in Atlanta and searched the entire house.  Upon searching the house, the officers entered the basement and found the three animals caged up and kept in poor conditions. The three of them were underweight, underfed and infested with parasites. The lion was found with a sore-looking injury on his nose. The poor baby animal had been kept in a cage so small that the bars were digging into his snout. Meanwhile, the bear had outgrown his restraints completely so the harness attached to him had to be surgically removed from his flesh.  In addition to that, the animals had suffered traumatic abuse in their cages.Only someone evil could have allowed the poor creature(s) to live in such a state.  (Note:  I chose not to show you the pictures of their suffering, because I couldn't copy and paste them through my tears.  I hope you understand....Gina.)   After the animals were rescued, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources took the trio to Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary where they received immediate medical attention. Most importantly, they were kept together. The three brothers soon made a full recovery at their new home and formed a happy family unit. Two of the brothers were named after characters from The Jungle Book. Baloo, the American black bear, and Shere Khan, the Bengal tiger. Meanwhile, the African lion cub, maneless due to an early neutering operation, was named Leo. The trio were nicknamed the BLT: bear, lion and tiger. Surprisingly enough, even after they were rescued the BLT preferred staying together and the sanctuary allowed them to share the same living space. They played, ate and napped together like a proper family!  They claim that the terrifying “early months” bonded the three and made them inseparable. Baloo is just as relaxed as his fictional counterpart while Shere Khan is more mischievous and loves pouncing on his brothers when they least expect it! Shere Khan (In fall of 2014 he was diagnosed with intervertebral disc disease but is responding well to treatment) was the most affectionate out of the three while Leo the lion was lethargic, though he often sprang to life whenever it playtime!

While Leo’s passing away is a tragedy, and many humans and animals will certainly miss him, he will always live on in his brothers’ memories


From Liz and Gina;

God Bless You Leo, and may God keep you in his arms, while you wait for Shere Khan and Baloo to join you.


From the Sanctuary:

In memory of Leo and to ensure all our animals always have access to the same outstanding veterinary care Leo did, we ask that donations be made in memory of Leo to our Animal Care Fund. Contributions can be made on site or online by following this link: or mailed to Noah’s Ark, 712 LG Griffin Rd, Locust Grove GA 30248. We are forever grateful for your generous support, and we thank you for helping us provide the best possible care for our rescued animal friends.

Rest in peace, sweet Leo.


Noah's Ark has more than 1,500 animal residents with over 100 different species. We rely solely on donations to help feed these animals. We've highlighted below some of our more popular animals. We're asking our supporters to sponsor one or more of these animals. By doing so, you are helping to cover the animal(s) food and care for one day. 

Once you select an animal, you'll see a brief description on them. In the shopping cart, increase the quantity if you'd like to sponsor the animal for more than one day.

Noah's Ark is a 501(c)3 organization. So all donations are tax-deductible.

NOTE:  All Proceeds from the Purchase of any Snazzy Jazz or Antonia Bracci Jewelry listed on Happy Clutter's Etsy Store as of this date will go to Noah's Ark in Memory of Leo, and for the future care of Baloo and Shere Khan in your name.

For your info, in case you would like to visit Noah's Ark:

they are located at:    712 Lg Griffin Rd., Locust Grove, GA 30248  Ph: 770957-0888

Habitat Hours:

Sunday & Monday - Closed

Tues - Sat 12:00-3:00

Welcome Center:

Tues - Sat 9-4






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