A pair of lion companions at LA Zoo who were ‘hardly every apart’ have been put down so that one would not have to live without the other.
African lions Hubert and Kalisa were both 21-years-old when the decision was made this week to euthanise them after age-related problems saw a ‘rapid decline in their health’, the zoo said in a statement.
Lions in the wild are expected to live to be in their early teens and those in captivity live to be 17 on average, so both far exceeded their life expectancy.
Staff said Hubert and Kalisa shared a strong bond and were inseparable in their years together at the zoo.
Beth Schaefer, animal programs director for the zoo, told the LA Times : “These lions were charismatic both together as partners and separately, but they were hardly ever apart from one another.
“Their undivided attention was always on the other as they rested together, cuddled and nuzzled often.”
Though Hubert fathered 10 offspring during his life, he and Kalisa did not have cubs together.
Hubert was born on February 7, 1999, at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo and Kalisa was born on Boxing Day, 1998, at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
They met when both were transferred to Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo before making the move to Los Angeles together in 2014.
LA Zoo CEO and director 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. 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.”