Jericho and Cecil formed a male coalition before the famous lion died, which is helping to protect his cubs today

By Kelli Bender
August 03, 2015 03:55 PM

Pride politics are helping to keep Cecil the lion’s cubs protected following the famous animal’s death.

According to CNN, another lion named Jericho has stepped in to help raise the cubs in Cecil’s former pride and keep them safe from other male lions outside of the group.

“The natural law in lion society is that when a male dies and his weakened coalition is usurped, the new incoming males kill their predecessors’ cubs,” David Macdonald, project manager of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Unit, said in a statement.

Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Unit, who had been tracking 13-year-old Cecil, originally thought Jericho was the lion’s brother. Lion prides consist of a small male coalition that watches over the females and cubs. These coalitions are usually made up of family members, but sometimes they include outside males added to make the pride stronger.

The conservation project now believes that Jericho is a male that Cecil allowed into the pride. It’s a good thing he did, because Jericho is currently “holding down the fort,” said Macdonald, and he is making sure no other lions try to usurp the group.

The cubs are not being tracked at the moment, but Jericho is equipped with a satellite collar. On Saturday, the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force and Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Unit lost the signal on the animal’s collar, leading them to believe the lion had been shot. Thankfully, the lion was spotted on Sunday morning and was confirmed to be alive and well.