The world has been anxiously waiting to find out about the fate of Cecil’s cubs, amidst initial fears that a new pride leader would kill the cubs. However, Cecil’s co-leader Jericho seems to have kept the young cubs safe from harm, despite rumours in the media that Jericho had suffered a similar fate to Cecil.
Photos posted recently on the Facebook page of African Bush Camps show Cecil’s remaining pride are doing well, despite the loss of their leader. The members of the pride – three lionesses and seven cubs – are pictured cautiously peering at the camera and having a snooze in Hwange National Park.
Following Cecil’s death there is some good news as a number of safari operators in and around Hwange have teamed together to start the Lion Conservation and Wildlife Fund. To date they have raised US$50,000 to save the remaining lions of Hwange and create wider areas to fall under the protection of the national parks authorities. The campaign also aims to assist Zimbabwe National Parks in stopping the unsustainable killing of other wildlife in Hwange, thereby creating a habitat of biodiversity where lions and other key species can thrive.
Furthermore, the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) at Oxford University that was monitoring Cecil’s pride, also announced that they have received more than US$780,000 in donations since Cecil’s demise. They have confirmed this to mean that they can now spread their conservation efforts to “surrounding landscapes in adjoining countries” to Hwange National Park.
WildCRU director David MacDonald said in a statement reported by News24 that their aim is to use the funds raised “to deliver the science and understanding that will enable wildlife and people to co-exist for the well being of both.”
“I believe that the worldwide engagement with Cecil’s story transcends the tragic fate of one lion, and sends a signal that people care about conservation and want it to be reflected in how humanity lives alongside nature in the 21st century,” he added.