Cecil the lion's brother shot by poachers – report

  • 02/08/2015
Poaching (iStock)
Poaching (iStock)

Reports are circulating that the brother of Cecil the lion, Jericho, has been shot dead by poachers.

Organisers of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force have posted on Facebook "It is with huge disgust and sadness that we have just been informed that Jericho, Cecil's brother, has been killed".

The force say there are "absolutely heartbroken", but a researcher monitoring the pride has rejected the claim.

Brent Stapelkaamp, field researcher for the Hwange Lion Research Project that is monitoring the lion with a GPS tag, says Jericho looks alive and well, according to Sky News.

But the Friends of Hwange Trust urged the public to treat the ZCTF's announcement with caution.

"Please know that reports stating that Jericho - the other half of Cecil the lion's coalition - was shot today appear to be UNTRUE."

The charity admitted however it did not yet have "definite proof" of its counter claim.

Hwange park authorities were unavailable for confirmation on Saturday evening (local time). 

Jericho had been protecting his brother's cubs, after Cecil was murdered by US dentist Walter Palmer last month.

The death of the 13-year-old lion sparked international outrage after it was made public earlier this week.

It is understood Mr Palmer, from Minnesota, paid park guides $50,000 to kill Cecil who was a huge attraction at the Hwange National Park.

A petition for Mr Palmer to be sent to Zimbabwe to face justice has gained more than 140,000 signatures and the White House has said it will review the petition, reports Sky News.

Zimbabwean authorities are seeking extradition of Mr Palmer.

Read more: Zimbabwe wants US hunter extradited

The hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in the area has been suspended.

An investigation has been launched into the killing of another lion last month, and a man has been arrested over this case according to officials.

3 News/ NZN