It turns out that the cubs fathered by the late Cecil the lion are being protected by his brother since his tragic killing, researchers say.
The popular lion was killed by American dentist Walter Palmer in a story that you probably know all too well by now, but this fresh news is something to smile about. Kind of.
Following his death, the fear was that Cecil’s cubs would be killed by Jericho, a lion who researchers say was next up in the hierarchy. This usually happens so that a male can father his own offspring with the females in the pride.
However, according to a team at Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Unit, Cecil’s brother has stepped up to the plate and is currently safeguarding the now fatherless cubs.
The above photos show Cecil fighting for dominance with Jericho in May last year, and since his death, officials have been worried that Jericho would take advantage of the pride that has been left behind.
Speaking about the situation, David Macdonald, project leader, said:
As you probably know, 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.
Awesome news, so far. We have faith in you, Cecil’s bro!