All across the globe, people are mourning the loss of Cecil, a 13-year-old Southwest African lion who lived in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. Cecil was a park favorite and was being studied and tracked by an Oxford University team. Cecil’s life was cut tragically short when he was lured out of the park and poached by a recreational game hunter, American dentist Walter Palmer.
Yesterday, rumors swirled that ANOTHER male lion in the park, Jericho, reported to be Cecil’s brother, had also been murdered. This would have been a tragedy on top of a tragedy, and so we were so relieved today when Yahoo News reported this morning that The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority had put this rumor to rest. Jericho the lion is alive and well and currently being studied by Brent Stapelkamp of the Lion Research Project.
Here’s the thing- Jericho is NOT Cecil’s brother. At least, not technically. Jericho is not a blood-related sibling of Cecil’s, but rather was a “coalition partner,” the second male lion in the pride that had a close bond with Cecil. So maybe not brothers by blood, but you can certainly argue that Jericho acts like a brother in all the ways that count. For example, in the wake of Cecil’s death, Jericho immediately became the protector of Cecil’s cubs.
We are so relieved to hear that Jericho is still alive and is now taking care of the dozen cubs of the pride. We are still so sad that it took a tragedy like Cecil’s senseless murder to raise public awareness about poaching, but we are glad that the world is paying attention now, and we hope that this awareness will aid in future wildlife conservation efforts.