Reports of Jericho the lion's death may have been greatly exaggerated

Jericho — an ally 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. However, another organization disputed the report.

“I’m very disappointed. I’m heartbroken,” Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force chairman Johnny Rodrigues told USA TODAY about the killing of the lion named Jericho. “It’s just too much.”

A researcher with the Hwange Lion Research Project, however, told Reuters and the Associated Press that Jericho is not dead based on his GPS tracking device.

“He looks alive and well to me as far as I can tell,” said Brent Stapelkamp, a field researcher with the project, which had been monitoring the lion.

Andrew Loveridge, who also works for the Hwange project, told NPR he also believes Jericho is still alive and the project will attempt to confirm a sighting of him on Sunday. Loveridge also said Cecil and Jericho are not brothers, but rather were friendly to each other. USA TODAY was unable to reach Loveridge for comment.