Just like us humans, animals can form incredible bonds with one another. We’ve seen cats and dogs that are the best of friends, but animals in the wild are just as likely to get close to those they spend their life with.
Just like in human relationships, it can be incredibly difficult for an animal when a relationship abruptly ends. In the wild, this could be for a whole host of reasons – an attack on a pack led to a death, an animal was hunted by poachers, or a pack simply decided to split up.
In zoos, relationships are a little different. Animals of a certain species spend years and years living together in the same enclosure. They form incredibly close bonds and would feel deeply distressed if they ever had to be apart.
In the Los Angeles Zoo, one elderly lion couple had lived together for more than 6 years. The 21-year-old lions had become inseparable from one another – and photos of the pair tell a beautiful love story.
Named Hubert and Kalisa, the couple sadly reached the end of the road when one of the lions fell ill. But rather than leave the other to live alone, Los Angeles Zoo decided to euthanize them both together.
In a post shared to LA Zoo and Botanical Gardens Facebook page, a member of the zoo wrote:
“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.”
In the post, CEO & Zoo Director Denise Verret was quoted as saying:
“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. 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.”
Verret continued to say that it was unusual to see Kalisa without Hubert somewhere nearby, and for that reason, the staff took comfort knowing that the pair had left the world together.
According to L.A. Zoo, lions in captivity have an average lifespan of around 17 years, so Hubert and Kalisa were already exceeding expectations at 21 years of age. But what made them a staff and guest favorite was not their age, but their obvious affection for one another.
As the photos of Kalisa and Hubert show, the pair clearly shared a lot of love. The zoo reported that they were known for their “frequent cuddles and nuzzles”, which isn’t always common in wild animals.
Whether animals can actually fall in love romantically is something that psychologists are still trying to figure out. With some evidence suggesting that animals can feel very similar emotions to humans, it’s likely that they can indeed feel emotions like love and affection, just like us.
The biggest proof of romantic love between animals can surely be found in Kalisa and Hubert. Their beautiful love story is proof that it’s never too late to find your perfect match – and you might just be inseparable from the moment you do.
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