By Bridget Mananavire
Jericho — the lion reputed to have taken over the family of Cecil the famous lion that was killed by American dentist, Walter Palmer, last year — has died at Hwange National Park.
He was 12-and-half-years old.
Though further investigations were still underway to determine the exact cause of his death, researchers have ruled out any kind of traumatic injury such as a gunshot, snare as well as wounds from fighting — naming natural causes and old age as reasons behind Jericho’s demise.
Previously, Jericho had been reported to be Cecil’s brother but it later turned out the two lions had only shared two prides of six lionesses and an estimated 24 young cubs.
Jericho, who became famous after an international outrage over the death of Cecil — who was being studied and tracked by the University of Oxford as part of a wildlife research, was found dead last week on Saturday, “under a Diospyros bush in the shade and did not appear to have struggled prior to death.”
“The carcass was intact with no sign of any damage caused by scavengers,” read a report prepared by Andrew Loveridge and Jane Hunt from the Hwange Lion Research Project.
“Jericho had been fitted with a Global Positioning System (GPS) collar on July 5, 2016. Data from this collar reveal the lion last moved on the 25th of October, four days prior to the discovery of the carcass.
“This suggests he died at around this date and this is consistent with the opinion of Dr Rees (veterinarian Rob Rees),” the Hawange Lion Reasearch Project reported.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) rangers, together with the researchers, removed the carcass.
Meanwhile, the samples for post-mortem will be taken to the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust laboratory for further analysis, if this is possible, considering the advanced state of putrefaction. Daily News