On the heels of revered lion Cecil being illegally hunted for sport, rumors started swirling that his "brother" Jericho had also met a similar untimely end.
Jericho, however, is alive and well.
Reports began coming in late Saturday that field researchers may have located the animal and found him in good health, and the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit in Zimbabwe confirmed on Sunday that no harm had come to Jericho. They even including photographic evidence in their blog post.
The official statement from the WCRU explained that Jericho was spotted feeding on a giraffe kill with a lioness from his pride early Sunday morning.
Jericho is a large male lion who has been monitored extensively in relation to a behavioral ecology study in the National Park and, technically, is not Cecil's brother. Rather, the two had formed a "co-operative coalition," which is fancy science talk for best bros.
Original confirmation was also backed by statements from the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force through their Facebook account, who explained that they received "three separate confirmed reports." On top of that good news, they also announced that Jericho had adopted Cecil's three cubs. The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force were the people who initially announced that Jericho was dead, but they have since apologized and explained that it was "a case of mistaken identity.”
While this unfortunately doesn't bring Cecil back, it's still good news that Jericho is indeed safe.
The world has been on high alert to after finding out that an American dentist, Dr. Walter J. Palmer, had killed the beloved 12-year-old lion Cecil, a favorite at Hwange National Park, for sport during a hunting trip to Zimbabwe. Cecil was a huge tourist draw and had been tracked for scientific research by Oxford University.
Palmer sent out an apology to his patients, but that did little to stop an ensuing hell-storm of social media vengeance. "I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt," Palmer wrote. "I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt."
Many celebrities expressed outrage after hearing about Cecil's death, but none were quite as outraged as actress Mia Farrow, who went as far as tweeting Palmer's home address. Additionally, protestors left angry letters and toy lions on the doorstep of his office.
Earlier this week, late-night host Jimmy Kimmel couldn't hold back his emotions when talking about Cecil. Watch his reaction in the video below.