Safe from harm and cuddling up together, these are the pictures that show Cecil the lion's cubs - orphaned when a US dentist killed their father.

The infant lions have been adopted by their new pride leader, under the watchful eye of their uncle Jericho, in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe.

Cecil's young have been seen regularly according to conservationists in the area - and have been taken under the wing of three lionesses in the pride.

Heart warming images from African Bush Camps show the cubs sleeping and cautiously peering into a camera.

New images from African Bush Camps show the cubs snoozing and cautiously peering into a camera. Photo / African Bush Camps
New images from African Bush Camps show the cubs snoozing and cautiously peering into a camera. Photo / African Bush Camps

They were left fatherless when US dentist Walter Palmer killed Cecil, sparking international outrage.

Palmer has now been in hiding for more than a week after being unmasked as the fanatical American bow hunter who slaughtered the famed big cat.

The 55-year-old was also forced to close his Minneapolis dental practice and is spending thousands of dollars a day on armed security and covert CCTV cameras after being deluged with death threats.

The main Palmer residence in Eden Prairie, Minnesota has been closely monitored by police and has so far escaped any damage.

But their vacation home in upscale Marco Island, Florida was targeted overnight Monday when vandals sprayed the words 'lion killer' on his garage door and dumped pigs' feet on his driveway.

Officials in Zimbabwe, where Cecil was killed, have called for Palmer to be extradited to face trial for allegedly shooting the animal.

Two days ago animal rights activists asked the Minnesota Board of Dentistry to investigate the dentist.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund says it filed a complaint alleging that Palmer brought disrepute to Minnesota's dental profession and should have his license revoked.


Earlier this week the professional hunter who helped Palmer slaughter Cecil dismissed the case against him as "frivolous" and "crazy".

At a court in Hwange town, Theo Bronkhorst told journalists the backlash following the killing of Cecil the lion had been 'traumatic'.

He claimed he didn't even know who Cecil was at the time he assisted Dr Palmer - someone he describes as a 'good man' - kill the popular lion.

Earlier this month it was reported that Jericho the lion had been found alive and well amid reports the animal had himself been killed by a poache.

Brent Stapelkamp, a field researcher for the Hwange Lion Research Project, confirmed that the GPS-tagged lion appeared to be moving around as normal.

A field research team from Oxford University's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit was also able to trace and photograph the lion.

- Daily Mail