First Cecil, now Jericho. The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force issued a statement Saturday confirming that Cecil the lion's brother, Jericho, was also shot and killed by illegal hunters.
"It is with huge disgust and sadness that we have just been informed that Jericho, Cecil's brother has been killed at 4 p.m. today," the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said in a statement. "We are absolutely heartbroken."
Jericho had been protecting Cecil's cubs, which were left vulnerable upon the death of their father, reports New York Daily News. Without a relative to defend them, the cubs will most likely be killed by the pride's next alpha male.
Cecil, who was shot and killed on July 1, was one of Zimbabwe's national treasures and a popular tourist attraction. He was also a key part of an Oxford University study about the effects of hunting near Hwange National Park. Walter Palmer, his alleged killer, is facing the wrath of Yelp reviewers, petitioners, his former dental patients, and Betty White. Palmer, who insists he hunted Cecil legally, is wanted by the Zimbabwean government for poaching.
UPDATE, Aug. 1, 4:40 p.m. ET: Contrary to earlier reports Jericho is alive and well, according to Reuters. The false report of his death stemmed from an inaccurate Facebook post by the Zimbabwe Conservative Task Force. Upon reading the report field researchers for the Hwang Lion Research Project immediately checked Jericho's GPS tag, which indicates that "his movements look regular. He sent a GPS point from his collar from 8:06 p.m. Everything looks fine."