Two amiable old lions, were put down together so that neither would have to live alone

In 2020, the enduring love affair between Hubert and Kalisa came to an end. Due to deteriorating health and age-related ailments that are reported to have decreased their quality of life, the inseparable pair of African lions who had established themselves as a beloved fixture of the Los Angeles Zoo were both put to death. According to a statement from the zoo, the longtime friends, who were both 21 years old, had considerably beyond their average lifespan of 14 to 17 years. While admirers lamented the passing of the gorgeous cats, many found solace in the fact that they didn’t have to live apart from one another.

On social media, the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens shared information: “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…”

Source: @LAZoo
Source: @LAZoo

CEO and zoo director of the LA Zoo, Denise Verret, said: “It was often said, you don’t see Kalisa without Hubert being close by,” Verret added. “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 on February 7, 1999, in the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, while Kalisa was born on December 26, 1998, at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, where the two were first introduced.

Source: @LAZoo

The lions were “charismatic both together as partners and separately,” according to Beth Schaefer, director of animal programs, who also told the LA Times that “their undivided attention was always on the other as they rested together, cuddled and nuzzled often.”

The zoo responded to a query on Instagram about why they chose to euthanize Hubert and Kalisa rather than allow them to pass away from old age: “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.”