Jericho The Lion Is Alive And Well And Will Continue To Be As Zimbabwe Cracks Down On Hunting

It's been less than a month since Cecil the lion was killed by an American dentist on a hunting expedition in Zimbabwe, and tragedy looked as if it had struck again when it was reported by the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force that his "brother" had been killed on Saturday. But the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit has reported that Jericho the lion is alive and well, having been spotted by WildCRU members on Sunday morning. WildCRU cleared up further confusion about Jericho, stating that the two lions aren't related by blood but were nevertheless incredibly close:

Many people have asked if Jericho and Cecil were brothers. They were not related though their bond was one close to brotherhood. Male lions often form what are termed co-operative 'coalitions' with unrelated males in order to better compete with other males for territories and prides.

Hours later, ZCTF released a statement saying that Jericho's erroneously reported death was a result of a mistaken identity from various sources. The slain lion has yet to be identified otherwise and no further information has been made available. The nonprofit, which initially started with the blessing of the government to combat poaching, further reiterated that they do not condone big game hunting and killing, nor do they issue permits for such activities.

In response to Cecil and the unnamed lion's deaths, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority issued a lengthy decree on Sunday detailing the ways in which it's cracking down on poaching outside Hwange National Park, where Cecil was killed. The organization and the government as a whole are continuing to investigate Cecil's death as well as who all was involved, including seeking the extradition of Walter Palmer, the alleged hunter involved.

According to the Wildlife Management Authority, effective immediately, the hunting of lions as well as leopards and elephants has been suspended in the area along with bowhunting. Some hunting will be allowed but only if a written confirmation has been issued by Director-General Edson Chidziya. Once hunters get proper authorization they must have park staff present while hunting. They cannot bowhunt under any circumstances. Additionally, a conservation and monitoring fund has been established. The Wildlife Management Authority will also be holding a meeting with ZCTF, society groups, affiliated stakeholders, and CAMPFIRE Districts on Tuesday to discuss Zimbabwe's current state of hunting in hopes that their joint efforts will put an end to poaching.

Photos: Brent Stapelkamp, WildCRU (1)