Date:October 21, 2020

Soulmates Forever: Elderly Lion Couple Put To Sleep At The Same Time So Neither Has To Live Alone

A zoo euthanized an ailing elderly lion couple together so neither of the animal soulmates had to live without one another. Hubert and his partner Alisa were put to sleep at LA Zoo on Thursday. Both animals were 21 years old.

A zoo spokesman said the African lions were both suffering from declining health and age-related issues that had left them with an increasingly-poor quality of life. Hubert was born at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, while Kalisa came from Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo.

The pair met at Woodland Park and were instantly smitten with one another. They moved to Los Angeles Zoo together in 2014, where they had lived happily until their health began to decline. LA Zoo spokesman Beth Schaefer said the lions’ bond was evident to visitors. She told the Los Angeles Times: ‘These lions were charismatic both together as partners and separately, but they were hardly ever apart from one another.

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Image credits: Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

‘Their undivided attention was always on the other as they rested together, cuddled and nuzzled often.’ And the zoo’s animal curator Alisa Behar said losing the couple at the same time was a double-blow for staff and fans of the animals.

She said: ‘This is a very hard loss for our zoo community,” Alisa Behar, the zoo’s curator of mammals, said in a statement. ‘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.’

Hubert fathered 10 cubs over the course of his life, although Kalisa never became a lion mom. African lions can live into their early teens in the wild, and usually, live to around 17 years old when in captivity.

Image credits: Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Beth Schaefer, a spokesperson for LA Zoo, told the Los Angeles 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.

Image credits: Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Meanwhile, CEO and zoo director Denise Verret said the loved up couple ‘are an iconic part of the Los Angeles Zoo experience,’ adding that all the zoo’s staff and guests ‘have been touched by their loyal companionship.’

She added:

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.

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.

Image credits: Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Verret finished her emotional statement by thanking the animal care and veterinary staff for looking after the lions, ‘who lived longer than most lions do in human care and in the wild.’

Alisa Behar, who works as the zoo’s animal curator, described Hubert and Kalisa’s deaths as a ’very hard loss’ for the zoo community.

‘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,’ she said.

‘You cannot think of Hubert without thinking of his companion, Kalisa; they’ve been an inseparable couple for years.’

Rest in peace, Hubert and Kalisa.

Image credits: Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Lions that live in captivity make often make it to the age of 20-25 years, while the life expectancy of a lion living in the wild is about 12-16 years of age.

There are multiple reasons for this disparity.

For example, they don’t have to watch out for predators while spending their days in captivity. While the biggest predator to lions is people, these majestic animals also have to watch out for cheetahs and hyenas, who can steal their food.

Also, lions don’t have access to medical care when they’re out in the wild. If they cut or break their paw, they will end up suffering. Lions in zoos, on the other hand, will get immediate medical attention if anything happens to them.

Another factor is environmental issues. Lions in the wild depend solely on nature for their well-being. But if there’s a drought, there won’t be water or food sources available for them. Captive lions, however, don’t have to deal with these problems as their living space will always remain the same and zookeepers will give them plenty of food and water.

Image credits: Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens Image credits: Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Here’s what people said about the majestic couple

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