Two elderly lions have been put down to sleep at the same time at LA zoo after spending many years together.
Kalisa and Hubert were both euthanized at the age of 21. The happy couple exceeded the average life span of a zoo lion, which is from mid-teens to 17.
A zoo spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times that the pair’s health conditions were rapidly declining. Their age-related problems also left them with a poor quality of life.
Kalisa came from Woodland Park in Seattle and Hubert from Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago before they first met in LA zoo six years ago.
“These lions were charismatic both together as partners and separately, but they were hardly ever apart from one another,” Beth Schaefer, LA Zoo spokesperson, said to Los Angeles Times.
“Their undivided attention was always on the other as they rested together, cuddled and nuzzled often.”
In a statement, zoo director and CEO Denise Verret said: “Hubert and Kalisa are an iconic part of the L.A. Zoo experience, and our staff and guests have been touched by their loyal companionship.
“These affectionate companions came to the L.A. Zoo six years ago, and they quickly charmed themselves into our hearts as we observed their magnificent beauty and unique bond.
“It was often said, you don’t see Kalisa without Hubert being close by.”
The spokesperson continued: “So, while it is truly heart-wrenching that we had to say goodbye to this iconic pair, we can take comfort in knowing they left together.
“These lions will remain a positive part of our history, and they will be greatly missed.
“I have to commend our animal care and veterinary staff for the great care they’ve given this pair, a couple who lived longer than most lions do in human care and the wild.”
Hubert had fathered ten cubs over his lifetime.
Verret added: “In the early mornings, staff would routinely hear Hubert’s waking roars, and I will personally miss hearing them on my walks around the grounds.
“You cannot think of Hubert without thinking of his companion, Kalisa; they’ve been an inseparable couple for years.”
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments section and SHARE this story with your friends and family!