Brother of Cecil of the Lion Killed


ZIMBABWE  UPDATE— The brother of slain Cecil the lion, named Jericho, still appears to be ‘alive and well’ after false reports of the lion’s illegal killing.

CNN first reported that Jericho was killed Saturday in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.

That information came from a senior park official, according to CNN.

According to a Reuters source, who is a lion researcher, the GPS signal on Jericho indicates he is doing just fine. The greater issue regarding poaching in this blog post remains true, though.

The brother of slain Cecil the lion, named Jericho, was killed Saturday in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, a senior park official told CNN News.

Jericho was gunned down by a hunter operating illegally, said Johnny Rodrigues, head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, according CNN.

Cecil was also killed illegally, provoking 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.

That’s fine, I have no problem with that…but as exemplified here, poaching goes on everyday. Maybe nations around the world (not only in Africa) will change – I hope so. But currently corruption and even laws in some places allow for this sort of thing. They look the other way when animals are poached. I thought Zimbabwe is targeting the dentist only because it’s such a high profile story. Realistically, poachers often have more resources than the governments agencies that are supposed to protect the animals, and more weapons – often aimed at humans attempting to valiantly save animals. As long as demand to hunt (poach) exists, it’s not an easy problem to deal with.

According to the World Wildlife Fund,  the world is today dealing with an unprecedented spike in illegal wildlife trade, threatening to overturn decades of conservation gains. Ivory estimated to weigh more than 23 metric tons—a figure that represents 2,500 elephants—was seized in the 13 largest seizures of illegal ivory in 2011. (I was going to post an image of a poached elephant or rhino – too gruesome – I couldn’t bring myself to do it).

Poaching also threatens the last of our wild tigers that number as few as 3,200. Rhino poaching in South Africa increased from 13 to 1,004 between 2007 and 2013. The data on species from whales to cheetah is astounding as scary if we care about them, and care about the planet. Species disappear from little insects to giant whales and the affect can be a cascade which somehow has become a political issue. This isn’t or at least should not be about politics.

Wildlife crime is a big business. Run by dangerous international networks, wildlife and animal parts are trafficked much like illegal drugs and arms. By its very nature, it is almost impossible to obtain reliable figures for the value of illegal wildlife trade. Experts at TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, estimate that it runs into hundreds of millions of dollars.

“It is with huge disgust and sadness that we have just been informed that Jericho, Cecil’s brother has been killed at 4pm today,” Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said Saturday on Facebook. “We are absolutely heart broken,” the Task Force added.

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.

Male coalitions, often between brothers, oversee prides of females in lion society and protect the prides from threats posed by outsider male lions. Sometimes those outsiders want their gene pool to continue (or at least Mother Nature planned it that way), so the cubs are killed. Nature can be cruel – but this isn’t nature alone…If human beings didn’t kill the two bothers, the cubs wouldn’t be imperiled.

What happened to this pride of lions is sad, but what’s more important is how common these crimes truly are. Maybe the public will wake up.

What I can never get over is how judgmental  we are. A country in a far off place allows something bad to happen, like the death of a lion. And some criticize the nation for not better protecting their wildlife. Whether warranted or not, it’s their nation. In our own country, one with far more resources it does on just the same., for example – Illinois just legalized hunting bobcat. In Texas, exotic animals are shot daily on “game reserves.” The same U.S. government assailing African nations, and other countries around the world could save our own – but they don’t.

Clearly, the most dangerous animal on the planet are us. And we’re the greatest threat to the planet as well.