This story has been updated.
UPDATE, 12:12 p.m. EDT, Aug. 6: The Zimbabwean authority that reported Jericho the lion had been killed has apologized and recanted its original statement, saying the lion is "alive and well." The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force issued the apology Sunday after claiming the lion, which they said was the "brother" of Cecil, was shot and killed by a hunter Saturday.
"I would like to sincerely apologise for my last report where I stated that Jericho had been killed," Johnny Rodrigues, Chairman for the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, said in a statement Sunday. The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force is not an official government agency. "I have now discovered that he is alive and well. The cubs are also doing well," Rodrigues said.
UPDATE, 4:15 p.m. EDT: Reports of Jericho the lion's demise may be greatly exaggerated. Jericho, the brother of famed lion Cecil, who was killed in July by a Minnesota dentist, is "alive and well," according to the researcher who monitors the lion's pride. Brent Stapelkamp, field researcher for the Hwange Lion Research Project, told Reuters that all appears well with Jericho, contradicting media reports that Jericho had been killed.
"He looks alive and well to me as far as I can tell," said Stapelkamp, who is monitoring the lion with a GPS tag. Stapelkamp said readings from Jericho's GPS tag indicated he was moving around as usual and appeared to be with a female.
"When I heard that report, I had a look on the computer and his movements look regular. He sent a GPS point from his collar from 8:06 p.m. (1806 GMT). Everything looks fine," Stapelkamp told Reuters.
Original story below.
Jericho, the brother of Cecil the lion, was reportedly killed by hunters Saturday in Zimbabwe, in what appears to be another incident of illegal poaching in the country. The big cat is believed to have been killed by poachers as he was protecting Cecil’s cubs, according to the Daily Star.
Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, confirmed the incident in a statement. “It is with great sadness and regret that we report that Jericho was shot dead at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon,” he said. “We have no further details but will advise as soon as we know more.”
“We are absolutely heartbroken,” Rodrigues added.
The killing of Cecil the lion by Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist, caused worldwide outrage last week among conservationists and animal lovers, with many calling for Palmer to be extradited to the African nation to face charges. Palmer, a notable recreational game hunter, reportedly paid more than $55,000 to kill the beloved feline, who had been a famous attraction in the area. Cecil was allegedly lured outside of a sanctuary, shot and wounded with an arrow and later shot with a rifle. Palmer issued an apology, placing blame on the the professional guide who organized the expedition, but he was unable to curb the growing tide online fury that spilled into the real world when demonstrators staged protests at his dental clinic. The 55-year-old has since gone into hiding.
Zimbabwe's National Parks and Wildlife Authority announced it suspended the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in an area where Cecil was killed, which is a favorite with hunters in the area and popular with tourists. Officials also said Saturday that bow-and-arrow hunts have also been suspended unless they are approved by the authority's director, the Associated Press reported.
Jericho’s reported death, like that of his brother, immediately sparked an outpouring of online grief. By Saturday afternoon, his name had shot to the top of Twitter’s trending topics.
— Alice Bennett (@aliceAHH) August 1, 2015