Cecil the lion's brother 'holding the fort' to protect his cubs from slaughter

The late lion's children could still be killed by a new alpha male

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The Independent Online

Cecil the lion’s cubs are being protected by this brother - but could still be in danger of being slaughtered according to the “natural law in lion society”.

Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, WildCru, had been studying Zimbabwe’s most famous lion, which was killed in a hunt organised by American dentist Walter Palmer last month.

Professor David Macdonald, director of WildCru, said many people had raised concerns about what will happen to the late lion’s children and revealed his brother has stepped in.

“Many people ask about the fate of Cecil’s cubs – we are keeping watch," he said in a statement.

“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."

More than £320,000 has been donated to the conservation project since Cecil’s untimely death.

Professor Macdonald said WildCru was “deeply grateful” for the support and that the “value people attach to lions and wildlife conservation inspires us”.

Mr Palmer provoked worldwide condemnation by his killing of 13-year-old Cecil, who was shot with a crossbow and then a rifle after being lured out of the Hwange National Park, where he was popular with locals.

He is still in hiding and business at his River Bluff Dental practice has ceased.

Now new reports have emerged that Mr Palmer, from Minneapolis, used a photo he had taken of Cecil’s carcass to impress a barmaid.

The woman, who works in a grill restaurant in Virginia, said: “He showed me that image of the lion on his cell phone,” reports the Daily Mirror.

“He told me he had broken some kind of record for the biggest lion but I wasn’t really that interested.”