Jericho, the brother of Cecil the lion, whose death sparked widespread outrage this week, was killed by a hunter Saturday afternoon in Zimbabwe, a local conservation group said.
“I’m very disappointed. I’m heartbroken,” Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force chairman Johnny Rodrigues said about the illegal killing of the lion named Jericho. “It’s just too much.”
The news comes after Cecil was lured out of Hwange National Park and shot with a bow and arrow before being tracked and killed early last month by Minnesota hunter and dentist Walter Palmer, who allegedly paid $50,000 to hunt him.
The nation’s wildlife authority announced Saturday that it has suspended the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants outside the park. It was unclear how the new measures would be enforced or whether they went into effect before Jericho’s death.
“Following the illegal killing of an iconic lion, Cecil … it has become necessary that the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority further tightens hunting regulations” in areas outside the park, the organization said in a statement. Bow and arrow hunts have also been suspended unless they are approved by the wildlife authority.
The organization said it is investigating the death of another lion in April that may have been illegal and only recently came to light, the Associated Press reported.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it was in contact with Palmer on Friday about Cecil’s death. No formal charges have yet been filed, and the investigation is ongoing.
Zimbabwe wants to extradite Palmer, Environmental Minister Oppah Muchinguri said earlier this week. Currently, the U.S. does not have an extradition treaty with the African nation. However, if the wildlife service finds evidence of wrongdoing, it will pass its findings to the Department of Justice, which means Palmer could be tried in the U.S.
A beloved Zimbabwean cultural figure, Cecil was fitted with a GPS tracker by a research program from the University of Oxford to trace his movements throughout Hwange National Park.
Fear remains for Cecil’s cubs, whom Jericho had been seen protecting. Male lions commonly kill the cubs of their rivals when they take over a pride.
“The natural law in lion society is that when a male dies and his weakened coalition is usurped, the new incoming males kill their predecessors’ cubs. This may not happen because Cecil’s brother is still holding the fort,” Oxford’s David Macdonald said in a statement Thursday.