Update: Shere Khan, beloved Bengal tiger, dies

Baloo the bear snuggles with an ailing Shere Khan a few days before his death. CREDIT: NOAH’s ARK ANIMAL SANCTUARY

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Baloo the bear snuggles with an ailing Shere Khan a few days before his death. CREDIT: NOAH’s ARK ANIMAL SANCTUARY

Shere Khan, the Bengal tiger rescued with his bear and lion brothers after a 2001 raid on a drug dealer’s home, died early Tuesday.

Shere Khan had been ill for several weeks. Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary officials feared that he had a brain tumor.

Allison Hedgecoth, animal husbandry manager for the 40-year-old Locust Grove nonprofit, confirmed his death in an email to The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

He was 17 ½ years old.

Plans are to buy Shere Khan in the enclosure where he lived, next to Leo the Lion, who died of cancer in 2016. Noah’s Ark will also add a statue of a tiger.

Shere Khan was part of what became known as the BLT (Bear, Lion and Tiger) a trio of animals that have lived together at the sanctuary since they were cubs. The three were found malnourished and riddled with parasites in the basement of a home.

There was Shere Khan, Leo the Lion and Baloo the Bear.

“It is with shattered hearts that we tell you our precious Shere Khan has joined his brother Leo in Heaven,” the Hedgecoth wrote in a post on the sanctuary’s Facebook page .

Baloo will be given a chance to say goodbye to his brother, said Hedgecoth.

“Test results came in this morning and confirmed there was absolutely nothing else that could be done for our sweet boy, and the kindest gift we could give him was the gift of freedom from the body that was no longer functioning as it should. Shere Khan passed away in the arms of his main caregiver, inside his straw filled tunnel with Baloo nearby. He heard soft words of adoration whispered in his ear and felt the warmth of loving, comforting strokes on his beautiful face as he very peacefully closed his big green eyes and took his last breath. “

Hedgecoth wrote that she was  grateful that Shere Khan was able to live a long, full life at Noah’s Ark where he was loved and spoiled.

“He had three acres to roam, big beautiful creek to play in, tons of toys and enrichment, an amazing clubhouse with a porch, two loving brothers and humans who absolutely adored him.”

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