Political lesson: Cooperation and respect can build strong caring neighborhoods


Leo, Baloo and Shere Khan

While Chicago police officers and other officers around the world have seen a lot of horrendous sights and experienced a lot of acrimony among neighborhood residents, few have faced what Atlanta, Georgia, officers found in a raid at a drug baron's home in 2001. 

Their "find" could be considered a great lesson in cooperation, respect for fellow neighborhood residents, genuine concern for others and a lot of love. 

They found two-month-old cubs. A bear, a lion and a tiger. They became known as BLT, it is a story that continues 14 years later. 

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources took them to Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary, a 250-acre location of a not-for profit in Locust Grove, GA.  Baloo the American Black Bear was in the worst condition of the three. A harness around the top of his body was never loosened or changed for a larger one as he grew. Consequently, it  dug into his flesh, becoming ingrown and required surgical removal and cleaning of his deep, infected wounds. Leo the African lion had an open, infected wound on his nose from confinement to a small crate, while Shere Khan the Bengal tiger was underweight and malnourished. 

Separated only once when Baloo was in for surgery, the other two "brothers" became extremely agitated because of it, pacing and vocalizing for their lost family member, according to Noah's Ark. 

Jama Hedgecoth, founder of Noah's Ark Animal Rehabilitation Center, said that at first they watched them carefully in their neighborhood because you never know when their temperament may change. After about four years, they figured that they would be brothers forever. 

Living in a exhibit called the Club House, they appear to be living the "good life," particularly considering how they began their life in captivity. Hedgecoth explained their personalities. Baloo is the boss, while Leo is quiet and laid back and Shere Kahn has boundless energy.

National Geographic's story below tells the story of their lives. Wouldn't it be great if those elected into public office next week, have as much real concern, after the election, for their constituents, as BLT have for each other! 



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