Cecil the Lion‘s brother, Jericho, was shot and killed today, the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said, in the wake of the country calling for the extradition of the American dentist who admitted killing Cecil in early July.
“It is with huge disgust and sadness that we have just been informed that Jericho, Cecil’s brother has been killed at 4pm today,” the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said in a Facebook post. “We are absolutely heart broken.”
Jericho was shot by a hunter and died at 4 p.m. local time, Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, told ABC News.
Rodrigues said the park put out a statement at 3:30 p.m. announcing a ban on hunting all lions, leopards and elephants.
“The park released the statement at about 3:30, and not even half an hour later I got a phone call that Jericho was killed,” Rodrigues said.
The hunter is not in custody, Rodrigues said.
After Cecil’s death, Jericho became the protector of his cubs, according to Rodrigues.
“The families had already united,” he said.
The process has already begun in Zimbabwe to extradite Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who admitted to killing Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, a cabinet minister said, according to the Associated Press.
“Unfortunately it was too late to apprehend the foreign poacher as he had already absconded to his country of origin,” Zimbabwe’s Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri said, according to the AP.
Muchinguri said they want Palmer to be “made accountable.”
“Almost 500,000 people are calling for his extradition and we need this support,” Muchinguri said. “We want him tried in Zimbabwe because he violated our laws.”
There is an extradition treaty between Zimbabwe and the United States.
Muchinguri said Palmer violated the country’s Parks and Wildlife Act, which controls the use of bow and arrow hunting. She also said Palmer, who reportedly paid $50,000 to hunt the lion, also violated the act through financing an illegal hunt. ABC News has been unable to confirm that figure independently.
Palmer said in a statement earlier this week that he “deeply” regretted the pursuit of the early July hunt in Zimbabwe that “resulted in the taking of this lion.” He added that he “had no idea” Cecil the lion was a “known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study.”
“I hired several professional guides and they secured all proper permits,” Palmer said in his statement. “To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted.”
Meanwhile, in the U.S., a petition to extradite Palmer began July 28, and quickly surpassed 100,000 signatures — meaning the White House will have to respond.