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Longtime African Lion Partners Euthanised Together Aged 21

Longtime African Lion Partners Euthanised Together Aged 21

A pair of inseparable elderly African lion companions have been euthanised together at aged 21, officials from LA Zoo has announced.

Hubert and Kalisa arrived at LA Zoo together in 2014 after they first bonded at the Woodland Park Zoo, but sadly have had to be put down following health problems that began affecting their quality of life.

Aged 21, the friends far outlived the average lifespan of zoo lions, which sits between mid teens and 17.

Hubert and Kalisa together at LA Zoo. (Credit: LA Zoo)
Hubert and Kalisa together at LA Zoo. (Credit: LA Zoo)
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The LA Zoo posted a gushing tribute on Instagram saying: "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 euthanise 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 L.A. Zoo experience, and our staff and guests have been touched by their loyal companionship," said CEO & Zoo Director Denise Verret.

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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 L.A. Zoo experience, and our staff and guests have been touched by their loyal companionship," said CEO & Zoo Director Denise Verret. "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." With an average life expectancy of mid-teens and about 17 years in Zoos, Hubert and Kalisa were considered elderly when they arrived at the L.A. Zoo in 2014 from the Woodland Park Zoo, where they had first bonded. They quickly became favorites among L.A. Zoo guests and staff and were known for their frequent cuddles and nuzzles. "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." Please join us in honoring Hubert and Kalisa and their legacy by sharing some of your favorite memories of them here or by tagging LA Zoo.
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"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."

While the pair struck up a loyal friendship during their six years together, they never had cubs together, although Hubert had fathered 10 offspring during his lifetime.

Hubert and Kalisa were best friends. (Credit: LA Zoo)
Hubert and Kalisa were best friends. (Credit: LA Zoo)
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"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."

LA Zoo spokesman Beth Schaefer also told the Los Angeles Times: "These lions were charismatic both together as partners and separately, but they were hardly ever apart from one another."

The Inseparable Hubert and Kalisa. (Credit: LA Zoo)
The Inseparable Hubert and Kalisa. (Credit: LA Zoo)
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Sadly due to prey depletion and the illegal trade of lion body parts for traditional medicine and other uses, African lions are considered vulnerable. There are believed to be fewer than 25,000 lions living in Africa.

It's safe to say that Hubert and Kalisa will be hugely missed.

Featured Image Credit: LA Zoo