Cecil's cubs, his three lionesses, are fine - researcher

2015-08-18 20:31
(File: AP)

(File: AP)

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Harare - Still worried about Cecil's cubs? Don't be. They're all safe - and so are his three females, says a lion researcher monitoring his pride in northern Zimbabwe.

In the month since news of Cecil's death in Hwange National Park first broke, there have been news reports which first suggested that Cecil's "coalition partner" Jericho had been shot and then that one of Cecil's cubs had been killed by a male trying to mate with the cub's mother.

The reports prompted considerable alarm on social media but proved false. Cecil's seven cubs are fine and were tracked and seen on Monday - though Jericho is 10km away from the little ones, Brent Stapelkamp said in a tweet on Tuesday.

Stapelkamp is part of an Oxford University team monitoring lions in Hwange, where Cecil was killed by a US dentist on an illegal hunt at the beginning of July. Researchers are able to follow collared lions' movements remotely although in this case the cubs were tracked.

"Cecil's cubs all seen alive and well yesterday [Monday] in the park. Only 10km from Jericho. The three mums and cubs are safe," he tweeted. 

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority confirmed this month that there were two prides of females under Cecil and Jericho's control, each with three females.

"Finding lions in the bush can be a bit like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack," Stapelkamp's research unit WildCRU said, adding: "Today, the field team found the lions."

The Tikki Hywood Trust, a Zimbabwean conservation group, said in a post that the cubs had been seen at the Kennedy 2 area of Hwange National Park. "Cecil's pride doing well - positive news!" the trust said in an update.

Meanwhile, Tommy, the emaciated lion who was separated from his pride and appeared to be starving last week, has rejoined the pride and finally had something to eat, it was reported.

The Lions of Hwange National Park group, which has been carefully monitoring Tommy's story, said in a post at the weekend: "Latest news is that Tommy is with his pride again. He's had a feed with them, small but something."

"Never underestimate the strength of a lion," the group said.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  poaching  |  south africa  |  conservation

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