There are now conflicting reports as to whether Jericho the lion, the brother of Cecil, was shot and killed in Zimbabwe on Saturday.
Johnny Rodrigues, of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, said in a press release, “It is with great sadness and regret that we report that Jericho was shot dead at 4 p.m. this afternoon. We have no further details but will advise as soon as we know more.”
But other conservation groups and the scientists from Oxford University who are studying lions in Hwange say Jericho is still alive and well.
Cecil was fatally shot by a Minnesota dentist, Dr. Walter Palmer, who paid more than $50,000 for the hunting trip. in early July, sparking outrage The professional hunter Palmer hired, Theo Bronkhorst, has been charged criminally in Zimbabwe and officials there say they are seeking to extradite Palmer from the United States so that he can also face charges.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Jericho’s GPS Tracker Showed Him Alive After He Was Reportedly Killed
Despite the statement from the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, those that are studying lions in the area where Cecil was killed say Jericho is still alive.
The Bhejane Trust, another conservation group, also disputed the reports. It said on Facebook:
False information being put out about Jericho – brother to Cecil – being shot today. According to Brent Staplekamp at Hwange Lion Research, Jericho was alive and well at 8.30 tonight and moving around Antoinette Estate ( where Cecil was shot) with a female. I can assure you no one is hunting lion on Antoinette after the Cecil incident!!
This false information probably stems from a current Parks investigation into another lion shot on a nearby farm on 2nd July. More information to follow
Jericho is an older lion and is weaker than Cecil.
“Jericho is a lone territorial male, and he has to defend territory alone,” Brian Stapelkamp told the Telegraph after Cecil’s death.. “Jericho is a very experienced male. I caught him a few days after Cecil’s death. His collar had died some time before, and I put a new one on and we are watching him like hawks.”
2. He Has Been Protecting Cecil’s Cubs After Fears He May Kill Them
Initially there were fears that Cecil’s cubs may be killed by Jericho, so that Jericho could insert his bloodline into the pride.
“The saddest part of all is that now that Cecil is dead, the next lion in the hierarchy, Jericho, will most likely kill all Cecil’s cubs so that he can insert his own bloodline into the females,” the task force said.
“That’s how it works… it’s in the wild; it’s nature taking its course,” Rodrigues told the BBC.
But the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said Jericho was protecting the cubs after Cecil’s death.
Jericho’s death would leave Cecil’s cubs and pride without protection from a territorial male, according to conservationists. The cubs were already in danger because Jericho as an older and weaker male.
“We are absolutely heart broken,” the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said.
3. Zimbabwe Has Just Restricted the Hunting of Lions, Leopards & Elephants
Zimbabwean officials announced on Saturday new restrictions on the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants.
According to the Associated Press, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has suspended hunting of lions, leopards and elephants by anyone who does not have the permission of the agency’s director.
“Hunting of lions, leopards and elephants outside of Hwange National Park has been suspended with immediate effect,” Zimbabwe’s wildlife authority said in a statement, according to the AP. Hunters inside Hwange must get authorization from the wildlife authority’s top official and be accompanied by parks staff.
4. Trophy Hunters Kill More Than 600 Lions a Year in Africa
According to the Washington Post, trophy hunters and poachers kill more than 600 lions in Africa a year. There are an estimated 30,000 lions left in Africa.
“Cecil was not the first male lion enticed out of the park to be shot by trophy hunters. In fact, the research programme indicates that over the years, 74% of the male lions on the border of the National Park have been shot by hunters,” Lion Aid says on its website.
5. Walter Palmer Has Been in Hiding Amidst Death Threats & Calls for Charges Against Him on Social Media
The 55-year-old Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil during a hunt in early July, Dr. Walter Palmer, has been in hiding since his name was released by Zimbabwean authorities, sparking outrage on social media. His office in Minnesota has been closed and swarmed by protesters.
Palmer said in a statement that he did not know Cecil was a popular figure in the Hwange national park when he killed him. The lion was shot by a crossbow and then killed 40 hours later outside the national park.
Palmer has said he will cooperate with authorities.
Read more about Walter Palmer and Cecil the lion at the link below: