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.
‘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.
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