Conflicting reports about the fate of the lion emerged on Saturday
Jericho the lion, who was originally reported to be Cecil the lion’s borther, is indeed alive despite initial reports that he had been illegally killed by a hunter on Saturday, Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit has confirmed. They have also clarified that he was not the brother of Cecil.
The organization released a statement on their Facebook page.
“It is with huge disgust and sadness that we have just been informed that Jericho, Cecil’s brother has been killed at 4pm today. We are absolutely heart broken. We will update you all as soon as we have more details.”
On Sunday they admitted that they had mistakenly reported that Jericho had been killed after they lost the signal on his collar.
Brent Stapelkamp, field researcher for the Hwange Lion Research Project which is monitoring the lion, told Reuters that he appeared to be “alive and well,” as far as he could tell.
On Sunday morning, Stapelkamp and Oxford University, who had been tracking Jericho, confirmed that he was indeed alive, and snapped a photo of him.
Before Jericho was confirmed to be alive, an Oxford University spokesperson told PEOPLE that they “are seeking to clarify conflicting reports.”
The news comes one month after the illegal baiting and shooting of Cecil in July, who was murdered by a Minnesota dentist named Dr. Walter Palmer.
Palmer has not been charged with a crime, but he contacted U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services late Thursday afternoon.
• Reporting by JEFF TRUSEDELL and CHRISTINE PELISEK