HARARE The brother of Cecil, the lion killed in Zimbabwe by an American hunter last month, is not dead, a researcher monitoring the pride told Reuters, contradicting media reports that Jericho had been killed.
"He looks alive and well to me as far as I can tell," said Brent Stapelkamp, field researcher for the Hwange Lion Research Project which is monitoring the lion with a GPS tag.
A group called the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force posted on its Facebook page that Jericho had been killed at 4 p.m. on Saturday, a report picked up by some Western news media that was rapidly spread on Twitter.
That generated a furious reaction on the social networking site where animal lovers had already been expressing their fury at the killing on July 1 of Cecil, a rare black-maned lion that was a familiar sight at Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park.
Stapelkamp said readings from Jericho's GPS tag indicated he was moving around as usual and appeared to be with a female.
"When I heard that report, I had a look on the computer and his movements look regular. He sent a GPS point from his collar from 8:06 p.m. (02:06 p.m. EDT). Everything looks fine," Stapelkamp told Reuters.
Earlier on Saturday, Zimbabwe's parks authority imposed an indefinite ban on big game hunting outside the national park from which Cecil was lured before being killed on July 1.
A source at the parks agency told Reuters a second lion had been killed illegally by a foreign hunter in Zimbabwe on July 3. That has not been confirmed by officials.
(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Writing by Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Jon Boyle)