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L.A. Zoo's 'Inseparable' Lion Couple Euthanized Together Due To Health Problems

Caitlyn Clancey 13 Sep 2020

The Los Angeles Zoo has bid farewell to arguably its most loved-up animal duo — a pair of African lions who spent their golden years doting on each other and proving once and for all that soulmates truly do exist in the animal kingdom.

As ABC 11 reported, Hubert and Kalisa were humanely euthanized at the same time on July 30 due to declines in their health and age-related illnesses.

The lions, both 21 years old, arrived at the L.A. Zoo together in 2014.

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Before that, they had spent many years together at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Although Hubert had previously fathered 10 cubs of his own, the pair never had any with each other, but their connection was almost palpable, nonetheless.

"You cannot think of Hubert without thinking of his companion, Kalisa," Alisa Behar, curator of mammals at the L.A. Zoo, said in a statement. "They've been an inseparable couple for years."

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For years, it's been quite clear to zoo staff and visitors alike that Hubert and Kalisa were soulmates.

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Their loved-up displays of affection certainly never went unnoticed.

“Their undivided attention was always on the other as they rested together, cuddled and nuzzled often," programs director Beth Schaefer told the Los Angeles Times.

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Hubert and Kalisa weren't just admired for their extraordinary bond, but for reaching such accelerated ages.

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When they arrived at the L.A. Zoo, they were already considered "elderly". As the facility explained in a Facebook post, the average life expectancy for African lions in the wild is mid-teens, and about 17 years in captivity.

"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," Behar said.

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In July, health officials at the facility made the incredibly difficult decision to put both Hubert and Kalisa to sleep.

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As explained in the Facebook post, the pair's accelerated ages and subsequent health problems had "diminished their quality of life."

"[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," CEO & Zoo Director Denise Verret said in the post. "These lions will remain a positive part of our history, and they will be greatly missed.”

h/t: ABC 11, Los Angeles Times, L.A. Zoo

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