An elderly lion couple at the Los Angeles Zoo have been peacefully and humanely put to sleep together.
The lions - Hubert and Kalisa - lived together at the zoo and were very much life partners.
The two made it to 21 years old (the average life expentancy of a lion is 15-17 years) and a huge chunk of their 21 years together.
Their declining health due to old age meant it was better for them both to be put to sleep, but their keepers decided they should be put down together so that one didn't have to feel the pain of not having the other with them even if it was just for a day.
Beth Schaefer, a spokesperson for LA Zoo, releases a statement in light of the news. “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.”
CEO and zoo director Denise Verret adds that the lions were “an iconic part of the Los Angeles Zoo experience.” She adds that the zoo’s staff and guests “have been touched by their loyal companionship.”
“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.”