Cecil the Lion’s brother is found dead in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park

Jericho  – the brother of Cecil the Lion, who was shot dead by an American dentist last year – has been found dead under a bush in the Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.

Source: Cecil the Lion’s brother is found dead in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park | Daily Mail Online

  • Cecil’s sibling Jericho is found dead at Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park
  • Believed that he died naturally following reports he was becoming frail
  • It comes a year after Cecil death became headline news around the world
  • Dentist Walter Palmer, from Minnesota, paid £45,000 to hunt and kill Cecil

The brother of Cecil the Lion – shot as a trophy by an American dentist prompting international outrage – has been found dead under a bush in the safari park where last year’s controversial hunt took place.

Jericho is thought to have died of natural causes in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park following reports that he was looking frail.

A postmortem will be carried on the cat whose death today prompted a massive outpouring of grief by the online community – notably since Cecil’s death last June.

Jericho’s body was discovered by researcher Jane Hunt from Hwange Lion Research on Saturday at 5pm during a routine monitoring of Hwange’s collard lion population.

Jericho was collared six months ago and was closely monitored. Hwange Park’s Caroline Washaya-Moyo told MailOnline: ‘Although Ms Hunt and her team did not see any sign of the cat being shot or snared, the fact that he had such a high profile following the death of Cecil – and perhaps would be coveted by hunters – prompted them to order an investigation into his death.

‘Samples were taken from the carcass, which was severely decayed and sent for testing.’

Jericho’s head was also removed from his body and taken back to Hwange’s main camp for safe keeping – a lion’s is worth a great deal of money to trophy hunters, many of whom travel to Zimbabwe from America and Europe and pay high sums for the head of a wild animal to hang on their walls as trophies.

The rest of Jericho’s remains were buried at the site in a deep hole to prevent him being devoured by scavengers.

A detailed report released by Hwange’s lion researchers reveals that Jericho’s dead body was found under a shaded ‘rest site’ frequently used by animals to shelter from the harsh African sun.

’The way in which the carcass was positioned when found suggest the lion died while resting at this point,’ Mrs Wahaya-Moyo said.

Southern Africa is experiencing a severe drought at the moment with many wild animals struggling to find enough food and water to sustain themselves.

Poignant footage of Jericho, who was 12, repeatedly calling for Cecil, following his killing in June last year, was shared hundreds of time on social media as tributes flooded in from all over the world.

Originally Cecil and Jericho’s were the greatest rivals, who fought over females and territory.

After some years, during which Jericho lost hunting partners to hunters, he and legendary Cecil formed one of the most effective alliances Hwange had ever seen.

Walter Palmer, from Minnesota, paid £45,000 to hunt and shoot the majestic Cecil, easily recognisable by his black mane and the biggest tourist draw card at the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.

The magnificent cat wore a collar and was a key part of an expensive research project monitored by Oxford University.

The shamed dentist was forced into hiding for weeks after receiving death threats following his shooting of Cecil which prompted an international outcry.

But the hapless hunter only managed to wound the lion and Cecil then spent a further 11 hours in agony before he was tracked by a professional marksman and put out of his misery.

Cecil’s corpse was then beheaded, skinned and salted, but the ‘trophies’ that Palmer had hoped to ship back to his home were later confiscated by the Zimbabwean authorities and the hunter leading Palmer on the fateful day was charged.

Many countries have changed their laws on importing animal trophy killings in the wake of the outrage.

The Hwange Lion Research Project, which announced Jericho’s death on facebook, said his carcass was discovered on Saturday, and had been dead for some days.

Given how close Jericho had been to death on occasions – losing so many allies and surviving being caught by the neck in a snare – the fact that he lived to be 12 was remarkable, researchers said.

Jericho was tracked regularly following the death of Cecil amid incorrect reports that he too had succumbed to poachers. Despite the worst fears that he would not survive, nor the two prides he had shared with his distinctive partner, he appeared to fare well for some time.

He was reported to ‘be looking ill’ during a game count held in September of all Hwange’s wild animals, and had been alone with no support to hunt or survive following the loss of Cecil.

More than 200,000 lions once roamed Africa, today just 25,000 have survived.


Brent Stapelkamp, a researcher with the Oxford University project that monitored Cecil, paid tribute to Jericho on his Facebook page, describing him as the ‘Complete Lion’, whose life had been marked by great life-threatening challenges and survival against the odds.

Brent saved Jericho’s life some years ago when the lion left Hwange in a battle for territory and began to hunt cattle on farming land. A farmer laid a ferocious trap for the cats who were taking his cows and Jericho was snared, but managed to escape the snare, taking some of it with him.

‘The snare tore deep into his neck and so when I found him a few weeks later he was in a bad way. I darted him one morning and removed his collar and snare. The collar would have prevented the wound from healing but by removing it we lost contact with Jericho for over a year.

‘One day we heard a rumour that he and another lion were seen near Somalisa camp and shortly afterwards a photograph taken confirmed it was his arch rival Cecil ‘They fought a bit initially and occasionally whenever they were with females but they established a bond and again dominated an area they each knew well.

‘In July 2015, Cecil was killed – in front of Jericho – and Jericho has protected Cecil’s pride. That is why Jericho is the complete lion. The story of modern lions is embodied in Jericho.

‘He has lived a comfortable life deep in a protected area, he has been familiar with tourists and brought in money for our country, he has gone to baits and watched as three of his coalition partners were shot, he has killed cattle and been snared.

‘Let’s reflect on his story and that of all of Africa’s remaining lions today as we march and prepare to fight for their continued existence.’