Animals are beautiful, wonderful creatures that we should love and treat with respect at all times. While I don’t personally agree with the idea of zoos on many levels, I know that some of them do truly care about and for their animals with passion and kindness, and that seems to be the case at the LA Zoo. Two of their beloved lions, Hubert and Kalisa, had been inseparable for the past six years. Now, aged 21, their health was declining and their quality of life had diminished, so the zoo made the hard decision to put them down together.
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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.
Hubert and Kalisa were extremely old for captive lions. Generally speaking, zoo lions only live between 15-17 years, so at 21, Hubert and Kalisa had surpassed everyone’s expectations. However, their aged-related illnesses meant that their lives had become troublesome and full of pain, hence the zoo’s difficult decision, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The pair met back in 2014. Hubert was born in Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo while Kalisa was a Seattle native born at Woodland Park Zoo. When they met in 2014, they immediately paired up and were rarely apart. “These lions were charismatic both together as partners and separately, but they were hardly ever apart from one another,” LA Zoo spokesperson Beth Schaefer said. “Their undivided attention was always on the other as they rested together, cuddled, and nuzzled often.”
Their loss is felt by visitors and zoo staff alike. Hubert and Kalisa were a beloved part of the zoo and the lions will certainly be missed. “Hubert and Kalisa are an iconic part of the LA Zoo experience, and our staff and guests have been touched by their loyal companionship,” zoo director Denise Verret said in a statement. “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.”
The zoo will be a different place without them for sure. The zoo’s animal curator Alisa Behar reflected on Hubert and Kalisa’s absence, saying, “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.” I’m not crying, you are!
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