An inseparable pair of African lions were put down together so neither of them would have to live alone.
Hubert and Kalisa became a popular staple of the Los Angeles Zoo, and they were recently euthanized together due to their declining health and age-related illnesses.
The long-time companions were both 21 years old, said a statement made by the Los Angeles Zoo.
The news was first made public by the zoo themselves.
In a statement that they made on social media, the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens said:
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the loss of our African lion pair, Hubert and Kalisa. Animal care and health staff made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize the 21-year-old lions today due to their declining health and age-related illnesses that had diminished their quality of life. Hubert and Kalisa are an iconic part of the LA Zoo experience, and our staff and guests have been touched by their loyal companionship. These affectionate companions came to the LA Zoo six years ago, and they quickly charmed themselves into our hearts as we observed their magnificent beauty and unique bond.
Denise Verret, CEO and zoo director of the LA Zoo, said:
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.
Hubert was born at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo on February 7, 1999 and Kalisa was born on December 26, 1998 at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle.
The pair were both introduced for the first time at the Woodland Park Zoo.
Hubert and Kalisa were moved to Los Angeles together in 2014 while Hubert fathered around 10 cubs.
Alisa Behar, the curator of mammals at the zoo, released a statement about the lions in a press release, saying:
This is a very hard loss for our Zoo community. You cannot think of Hubert without thinking of his companion, Kalisa; they’ve been an inseparable couple for years. 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.
The zoo also explained in another statement about how long the lions live.
They said that the average life expectancy of lions is around 14 to 17 years in zoos. Hubert and Kalisa on the other hand managed to live up to 21, which is already a pretty great life for such animals.
Denise Verret, CEO and zoo director of the LA Zoo, credited the veterinary team and animal care teams for the longevity of the lions.
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.
During an interview with the LA Times, animal programs director Beth Schaefer said that the lions were charismatic together.
The zoo explained on Instagram why they had to euthanize Hubert and Kalisa instead of letting them having a natural death.
Both lions were in declining health in the past couple of months with a more rapid decline in the past two weeks. Animal health staff had been monitoring Hubert for several months due to slow weight loss when they were alerted to a more rapid decline in mobility for Kalisa recently. Both lions started losing more weight in the past month or so and it was clear that their quality of life was also diminishing. The strength of their social bond has always been clear; euthanizing only one of these individuals would have been more difficult but with both lions having medical issues, this decision, fortunately, did not have to be made.
May Hubert and Kalisa enjoy the afterlife.