Zimbabwe officials and ABC News just confirmed that Jericho, the brother of Cecil the Lion, has been shot dead in Zimbabwe by illegal hunters just as his brother.
“It is with huge disgust and sadness that we have just been informed that Jericho, Cecil’s brother has been killed at 4pm today,” Johnny Rodrigues, head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, said in a statement. “We are absolutely heartbroken.”
“I’m very gutted, I’m very disappointed, I’m heartbroken. It’s just too much,” Rodrigues told USA Today.
Reports claim that Jericho was illegally killed by hunters in Hwange National Park and was looking after Cecil’s cubs after he was shot by Walter Palmer.
Now, Cecil’s cubs are left vulnerable to danger without a watchful guardian.
It was feared that the four remaining lion cubs could be killed by a male rival who, with the death of Cecil, would take his place in the lion hierarchy.
Last week, a team at Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Unit, that had been studying Cecil before he was shot dead, said Jericho had stepped in to safeguard the young from any rival males.
Now, the future of the cubs now remains in doubt.
This disturbing and illegal new slaying comes as Zimbabwean wildlife authorities announced the suspension of hunting lions, leopards and elephants in the area where Cecil was killed.
Let’s hope that we are able to raise enough awareness about the issue of illegal hunting so that their tragic deaths do not go in vain.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.