Relax! Jericho the lion is ‘alive and well’ in Zimbabwe

Jericho the lion, who it had been claimed was shot dead yesterday by poachers at a park in Zimbabwe, is “alive and well”, conservationists have confirmed.

Relax! Jericho the lion is

Twitter users were really concerned when they heard the rumours.

But researchers from Oxford University who monitor the cat provided a picture to show that reports of his death by the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force had been mistaken. What are they like?

Jericho was a close ally of Cecil the lion, whose killing by a US dentist last month sparked worldwide outrage.

Professor David Macdonald, director of Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, said: “Last night we were surprised to see rumours of the death of a second lion, Jericho, circulating in the media – we had no evidence for this.

“The rumours claimed he too had been hunted illegally.

“The WildCRU field research team and a National Parks ranger set out at daybreak to attempt to find him.

“Jericho was seen alive and well at 6.15am. He has been feeding on a giraffe kill with the lionesses from his pride.”

(John Giles/PA)

The professor said that Jericho, who is about 11 years old, was not related by blood to Cecil, dispelling claims that they were brothers.

But he added: “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.

(Ben Curtis/AP)

“In fact 42% of male lion coalitions are genetically unrelated, though larger coalitions tend to be brothers or half-brothers.”

The country’s wildlife authorities have suspended the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in an area favoured by hunters.