Cecil the Lion’s Older Brother Jericho Still Alive, Was Misidentified

Cecil and Jericho
Cecil the Lion's brother Jericho was illegally killed on Saturday, Aug. 1, Us Weekly can confirm AFP/GETTY IMAGES

UPDATE: Cecil the Lion’s brother Jericho is still alive. According to a statement issued by the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force on Sunday, Aug. 2, the lion was misidentified. Oxford University tweeted a photo of Jericho following the mistaken report to prove he’s still alive. “BREAKING #Jericho alive and well! Pic taken by @brentstapelkamp 06.15 this morning,” the caption read.

PREVIOUS UPDATE: A researcher with the Hwange Lion Research Project told the Associated Press Saturday that Jericho could still be alive based on a GPS that tracks the animal. "He looks alive and well to me as far as I can tell," Brent Stapelkamp said. Story is still developing. 

ORIGINAL STORY: Something to roar about. Cecil the Lion’s brother Jericho was illegally killed in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe on Saturday, Aug. 1, Us Weekly can confirm.

“It is with great sadness and regret that we report that Jericho was shot dead at 4 p.m. this afternoon,” Johnny Rodrigues, chairman for the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, told Us in a statement. “We have no further details but will advise as soon as we know more.”

The task force added on their Facebook account that they are disgusted and “absolutely heartbroken.”

The news comes amid outrage against Walter J. Palmer, who killed Cecil in Zimbabwe on July 6. The Minnesota dentist allegedly paid $55,000 to hunt the lion. If found guilty, Palmer – who has gone into hiding – can face 10 years in jail for poaching charges. (A representative for Palmer contacted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Friday. “We appreciate the cooperation, investigation is ongoing,” the service tweeted.)

According to CNN, Jericho was reportedly taking care of Cecil’s cubs following his brother’s death. PETA President, Ingrid Newkirk, released a statement about the situation Saturday. "Cecil is dead and now if reports are true, his brother Jericho is dead too. If Jericho was killed then the cubs, who he guarded after Cecil’s killing, are likely to perish," Newkirk said. "Whether or not Jericho was killed, there’s no doubt trophy hunters killed lions in Africa yesterday, and regardless of which lions were gunned down, this is the devastation and real life pain and destruction caused by trophy hunting. It is the trophy hunting business that must now die. Lions' heads, and the heads of rhinos and leopards and Cape buffalo, all belong on their shoulders, not on a wall."

Cecil was a local favorite, and was part of a study at Oxford University. Palmer apologized for the situation in a note to his patients, but PETA was not satisfied.

“Hunting is a coward’s pastime,” Newkirk said in a statement to Us Weekly on Wednesday, July 29. “If, as has been reported, this dentist and his guides lured Cecil out of the park with food so as to shoot him on private property, because shooting him in the park would have been illegal, he needs to be extradited, charged, and, preferably, hanged.” Zimbabwe also wants him extradited.

Mourners, including late-night hosts Jimmy Kimmel and Larry Wilmore, Betty White, and Mia Farrow, have slammed Palmer for his actions. Others have also placed stuffed animal lions and a “You are a coward and a killer” sign outside Palmer’s Minnesota office.

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