Contrary to various media reports, the brother of Cecil the lion is alive and well according to a researcher monitoring the pride. News had broken earlier today that Cecil’s brother, Jericho, had been shot by poachers. But according to Brent Stapelkamp, who spoke with Reuters, “He looks alive and well to me as far as I can tell.”
A Zimbabwe Parks spokesperson has also confirmed that Jericho is not dead. Search teams have been sent out and his collar is still active, Wildlife At Risk, International said.
Jericho and Cecil lived together at Hwange National Park and were leaders of their pride. Alone, both lions had struggled to maintain their territory and prides, but after they banded together, they were able to protect their lionesses and cubs.
Conservationists were concerned that Jericho would not be able to protect Cecil’s cubs, but it turns out the lion is protecting his brother’s young from other male lions trying to exert control over the pride’s territory.
Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force had released a statement on Facebook: “It is with huge disgust and sadness that we have just been informed that Jericho, Cecil’s brother has been killed at 4pm today. We are absolutely heartbroken.” This terrible news quickly spread virally, given the outpouring of sadness surrounding Cecil’s death.
But Stapelkam who is a field researcher for Hwange Lion Research Project told Reuters that he had heard the news and immediately checked Jericho’s status and said that the lion’s “movements look regular”.
We’ll keep an eye on this story and let you know of any new developments regarding Jericho.
If you want to support the conservationists and scientists trying to help lions like Cecil and Jericho, visit their website here.
Below is rare footage of Jericho and Cecil’s cubs taken before the lions’ deaths.
The video below shows Cecil with his pride.