Cecil the lion: Family is safe under Jericho’s territory

Most tourists who visit Zimbabwe to see wild animals are attracted to lions and get disappointed if they do not see one.
The ZBC News trekked to Hwange National Park to see how the family left by Cecil the lion, which was killed last July, is coping.

Cecil left a family of 3 lionesses and seven cubs under the foster father, Jericho, and the ZBC News found the senior lioness, now collared, resting with the family after a hearty meal 30km from the Hwange National Park main camp close to Kennedy siding.

Speaking to the ZBC News, the Project Coordinator, Brent Stapelkamp, said the project was initiated by authorities who wanted to find out why lions were not increasing in numbers in the national park despite lots of food.

“Initially we have found out that those with hunting permits outside the park are decimating male lions in their area.  Lions are territorial and do not recognise human boundaries, so if one is killed another lion fills the gap and gets killed and this has been the trend, Stapelkamp explained.

Stapelkamp added that even the lions that flee to villages killing cattle, goats and donkeys will all be trying to serve their cubs following the death of the male lion and the situation creates tension with humans who do not understand the ripple effects of killing lions for trophy purposes.

H e said Jericho, a friend of Cecil, has been an exemplary foster parent, which has remained in the park.

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Though not related to the late Cecil, Jericho was a close friend and the two controlled an area of almost 300 Sq kilometres.

Jericho has started his own family with two lionesses and two cubs were recently were observed.

Despite all this, Cecil’s family is still safe under Jericho s territory that used to be jointly controlled by the two.-ZBC