The news coming out of Zimbabwe is that Jericho is definitely alive and was seen at 7am this morning. It is however reported that another lion may have been killed in an illegal lion hunt (and maybe some time ago) in the same area and the report about Jericho was a case of mistaken identity. Was this the Spanish hunter?
It seems that the cubs are all still safe and may have been sired by both Cecil and Jericho. As a second pride male, Jericho will seek to protect the cubs and not to kill them. As there is a stark lack of adult male lions in this area (all trophy hunted out), there may well not be any new male coming in to challenge Jericho as the pride male . The five cubs may well, on that basis, survive to adulthood.
On a positive note, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority last night issued a statement to say that all hunting of lions, leopards and elephants has been suspended in Hwange National Park area and bow hunting has been suspended with immediate effect. They are also reminding the hunting fraternity that transferring quotas from one hunting area to another (a widespread practice which has enabled hunting outfitters to hunt a lion in an area with no legal permit) is regarded as poaching and the Authority will not hesitate to arrest, prosecute and ban for life professional hunters, clients and land owners who are caught on the wrong side of the law.
Cecil's legacy is already having a positive effect and we must take comfort that we may at last be on the cusp of change.
We thank those individuals who risk their lives to report on the activities in and around Hwange National Park. They are true lion hearts and we salute their dedication.
Picture credit: Brent Stapelkamp