Jericho, the brother of slain Cecil the lion, was killed Saturday in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, a senior park official told CNN.
Jericho was gunned down by a hunter operating illegally, said Johnny Rodrigues, head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force.
Cecil’s death provoked an international outrage because he was a protected animal, and Zimbabwe is seeking the extradition of American dentist Walter Palmer on accusations that he and others illegally hunted the lion, authorities said.
“It is with huge disgust and sadness that we have just been informed that Jericho, Cecil’s brother has been killed at 4pm today,” the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said Saturday on Facebook.
“We are absolutely heart broken,” the Task Force said.
Jericho was considered to be caring for and defending Cecil’s cubs, but the survivability of those cubs wasn’t immediately clear in the aftermath of Jericho’s death.
Some of the cubs may have been Jericho’s, said David Macdonald, director of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, who has been studying Cecil.
Male coalitions, often between brothers, oversee prides of females in lion society and protect the prides from threats posed by outsider male lions, the scientist said.