VIDEO: The kids are alright! Cecil the lion's cubs okay; Jericho not a threat
Officials at African Bush Camps said Cecil's 3 lionesses, 7 cubs, and Jericho okay.
There's some good news -- for now -- out of the game reserve in Zimbabwe where Cecil the lion was illegally killed by U.S. dentist Walter Palmer (a/k/a Dr. Evil).
Africa Bush Camps, which runs safaris in the supposedly protected reserve from which Cecil was lured and shot by Palmer's bow, has released video purporting to be the late lion's three gal pals and his seven cups.
Black and white night vision pictures also show the cubs cuddling. Cuteness explosion!
On its Facebook page, African Bush Camps officials posted:
"We are delighted to confirm that a couple of days ago, the team at Somalisa Camp were able to successfully locate and view Cecil's pride, comprising of the 3 lionesses and 7 cubs on the boundary of our concession in Hwange National Park.
"In addition, contrary to inaccurate reports, Brent Staplekamp from the Lion Research Unit in Hwange confirmed that Jericho is alive and well!"
While cubs always face attacks by predators, like hyenas, experts now believe their uncle -- Cecil's brother Jericho -- is no longer a threat.It is sometimes practice in the wild for the new lion king to do away with the old king's cubs.
Staplekamp told NBC: "We are less concerned and I think that's because we know the story."
"The way lion society works, those cubs would have bonded with Jericho, so those cubs although they might not be Jericho's specifically, he's bonded with them, he's shared kills with them, he knows the lionesses very well," said Staplekamp.
"So he will protect those cubs as though they are his own. They were seen yesterday in the national park: Three lionesses, the seven cubs, alive and healthy."
There have been unconfirmed British reports over the weekend that Jericho may have taken up with other lionesses and that at least one of Cecil's cubs may have been killed by another lion looking to mate. The reports could not be confirmed.
Meanwhile, Palmer remains in hiding as the public anger at him shows no let up.
Palmer, who paid $50,000 to two Zimbabwe men now charged with poaching, has said he was told his trophy hunt was legal.
Whatever the case is, the words "Lion Killer" were painted on the garage door of the Minnesota dentist's $1.1 million Florida vacation home, police in Marco Island said.
Animal crackers in cups were scattered on his lawn,CBS affiliate WINK reported.