A lot of people were concerned when rumors over the past day claimed Cecil the lion’s brother Jericho was also killed by hunters. It’s now confirmed he is alive and well, Sky News reports.
The concern was caused by a post by Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force on Facebook on Saturday that said: “It is with huge disgust and sadness that we have just been informed that Jericho, Cecil’s brother, has been killed at 4pm today.”
A few hours later though scientists with access to the feed of Jericho’s tracking collar (like the one Cecil had) showed movement. Then another local claimed he had seen Jericho roaming around after that hour.
During the night though neither of the claims could be verified. This morning a team of researchers working at the Hwange National Park set out to locate Jericho and found him feeding on a giraffe he had captured. He was in the company of the lionesses from his pride.
Professor David Macdonald, director of Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) has said to Express that Jericho isn’t actually a brother of Cecil. The 11 year old lion had a “co-operative coalition” with Cecil in order to better compete with other males for territories and prides, professor Macdonald adds. Despite fighting from time to time, Cecil and Jericho were very close and were like brothers, the professor says.
There were concerns that Jericho might kill Cecil’s cubs to impose his dominance in the pride, researchers have said. But everyone have been pleasantly surprised and relieved to see that Jericho has actually “adopted” Cecil’s cubs and is protecting them.
The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force have since clarified that it was a case of “mistaken identity” and that another lion was killed, which is equally atrocious. Here is the ZCTF statement in full:
Mistaken Identity – Jericho is in fact alive and well and has adopted Cecil’s cubs. We were given 3 separate confirmed reports last night that is was Jericho. We could not reach the research station in Hwange to verify if Jericho was indeed alive after they reported that they were receiving signal from his collar.
We apologize for reporting that he had died but were confident that our sources were in fact correct. This was a case of mistaken identity, but a lion has in fact been killed…although we are relieved that it was not Jericho, we are not happy that yet another lion has been killed…
We understand that some people will be very upset about the report but please could we keep this facebook page clear of derogatory slurs.
We would like to make it clear that we do NOT support trophy hunting and we do NOT issue permits or licenses to kill animals…in Zimbabwe. We are merely a concerned conservation group trying to help stop the slaughter of Zimbabwe’s beautiful animals.
There is still no word from Walter Palmer. Yesterday the Zimbabwean authorities moved forward to issue an extradition request to the US for Palmer. The dentist who killed Cecil the lion has been in hiding and has so far only claimed he thought everything was legal and did not know that the lion he was hunting is so famous.
There is currently an online petition calling for Palmer’s extradition to Zimbabwe to face trial. The White House has said it will review the petition which has gathered more than 140 000 signatures.