Cecil The Lion’s Brother, Jericho, Reported Killed By Illegal Hunters In Zimbabwe, Original Reports in Dispute [Updated]

Editor’s note: The Inquisitr’s primary aggregated sources for this story have updated their stories to cast doubt on Jericho’s status. In an update on August 1, 2015, USA Today notes reports of his death are disputed, whereas CNN’s report from a day later declares Jericho to be confirmed alive. Both outlets are basing their updates on a report from Brent Stapelkamp of Oxford university’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, who noted that Jericho’s GPS tracker is active and tweeted a picture of him.

Original story below, with updates in context.

Just days after Cecil the lion was killed in Zimbabwe by Minnesota hunter Walter Palmer, we now possibly have more tragic news coming in from Zimbabwe. USA Today reports that Jericho, the brother of Cecil the lion, who was recently reported to be taking care of Cecil’s orphaned cubs, has allegedly been killed by a hunter on Saturday. The news has been confirmed by Johnny Rodrigues, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, but since then, questions have been made on its authenticity.

“I’m very disappointed, I’m heartbroken. It’s just too much,” Chairman Johnny Rodrigues told the newspaper.

According to CNN, the brother of Cecil the lion, Jericho was allegedly killed earlier today by a hunter at the Hwange National park in Zimbabwe. The identity of the hunter remains unclear at this point. Like with the case of Cecil, it is now reported that Jericho, too, was killed by a hunter

As already reported by the Inquisitr, Cecil the lion was was killed, skinned, and beheaded last month by Minnesota hunter Walter Palmer on a trip to the country. He had paid almost $50,000 for hunting the prized lion. The news of Cecil’s killing was received with outrage from animal lovers across the world.

The news of Jericho’s alleged killing comes on the same day that Zimbabwean authorities called for the extradition of Walter Palmer to Zimbabwe where he would be tried for his crimes. Zimbabwe, however, does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S. and it is unlikely that Walter would ever return to that country.

Meanwhile, it was also reported that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were in contact with Palmer on Friday about the lion’s death. While no formal charges have been filed against the dentist, he could be charged with animal cruelty upon his return to the United States.

Meanwhile, people took took to social media to express their outrage after they heard that Jericho was possibly killed.

A ray of hope first came in the form of a tweet, which claimed that Jericho was possibly still alive and well as of 8:30 p.m. local time in Zimbabwe.

The future of Cecil the lion’s young cubs remains uncertain if Jericho, who was apparently taking care of them, was shot and killed too. Conservationists who had tracked Cecil since 2008 were heartened to see Jericho taking care of Cecil’s cubs after he was killed. We will update this story once more facts are released.

Update: There are conflicting reports pertaining to Jericho’s current status. According to an NPR report, the lion that was reported as Jericho was in fact another lion, unrelated to Cecil. More information is expected as soon as day breaks in Zimbabwe.

[Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images ]