Researchers in Zimbabwe found the body of Jericho the Lion in Hwange National Park while monitoring the lion population in the area. Read on to find out what happened to this iconic lion.
While we may never know for certain, it looks as though Jericho the Lion died of natural causes. His body was badly decomposed when the researchers found him, but he was found in an area where animals frequently hang out in the shade during the heat of the day and it looks like he died in his sleep.
Wild male lions normally live to an age of 10-14 years and it’s estimated that Jericho was about 12. Researchers noted that he looked “ill” during a game count back in September. Southern Africa is also experiencing a terrible drought right now and tens of thousands of animals have already perished as a result.
Best known as Cecil’s brother, Jericho the Lion was actually not related to Cecil at all, though they did form an “alliance” and lived in relative harmony together in recent years. Jericho quickly became famous after Walter Palmer killed Cecil the lion back in 2015.
Researchers fitted Jericho with a tracking collar several months later, which was how they located his body so easily after he died.
What a waste: Jericho the Lion was a magnificent old lion and he starved to death, possibly being eaten alive by hyenas after he was too weak to resist. That’s a miserable way to die that gets conveniently left out in Disney movies.
Jericho and Cecil were both mature lions who died right at the end of the average lifespan of a wild lion. Those are exactly the lions that hunters should be targeting. While it appears as though Walter Palmer botched the job with Cecil, a hunter’s bullet is a much quicker and less agonizing way to die than starvation or disease.
When done correctly, hunting promotes wildlife conservation, reduces poaching, and preserves wildlife habitat. What happened with Cecil was a shame and makes hunters all over the world look bad. But, that does not take away from the fact that the hunting contributes millions of dollars towards conservation and is really the only reason why Africa has any wildlife remaining at all.