Created: Tue, 24 Jun 2014 05:36:00 EST
Updated: Wed, 25 Jun 2014 02:42:57 EST
A lion, tiger, bear... and a monkey? Oh my!
"This is really a special little group of guys here," says Kandi Allen with Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary in Locust Grove. Leo the lion, Shere Khan the tiger and Baloo the bear, or B-L-T as they're called, live together like family. They were separated for a short time and could not stand to be apart.
"We put the three of them back together to see if that changed anybody's temperament and they were all happy again," Allen explains.
The three animals were rescued from the basement of an Atlanta drug dealer's home in 2001. They were found malnourished, mistreated and in very poor health. They were brought to Noah's Ark to be rehabilitated.
B-L-T is among 1,500 other animals that have been rescued and rehabilitated at Noah's Ark.
There's another odd couple, too- Little Ann, a Georgian black bear, and Doc, a 560 pound tiger. They were both rescued and brought up together here and now live as inseparable best friends.
There's also Peanut Butter and Jelly, donkeys donated by their owners. Suki and Sheila retired circus tigers that need some tender loving care, and Ruby, a high-energy parrot whose owners could not keep her.
There are 100 different species of animals from cows to emus and peacocks that live on 250 acres.
Allison Hedgecoth, the Manager of Animal Husbandry, says her job is very rewarding. "Seeing animals come in from abusive situations and then watching them blossom and return back to health," explains Hedgecoth.
While you visit the variety of animal habitats, such as B-L-T, Allen says there's a bigger message to learn from Noah's Ark. "Everybody can get along, no matter what type animal you are, what color you are," says Allen.
Noah’s Ark animal habitats are open year round Tuesday through Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. You can also celebrate birthdays, family reunions, and other parties there. Admission to the sanctuary is free, but donations are needed and appreciated.