Delta, United ban transport of big-game carcasses and body parts

04 Aug 2015


Following the international outcry over the death of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe some airlines are reconsidering their policy on the shipment of big-game carcasses and body parts (known in hunting parlance as ''trophies'').

Delta and United Airlines, the two carriers that offered nonstop service from the US to Africa, announced that they would ban such shipments.

Delta, which operates flights to Lagos, Accra, Dakar and Johannesburg from Atlanta or New York, had been the subject of a major online campaign. The carrier, however, gave in yesterday, issuing a statement saying it would ''officially ban shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight.''

Following suit, United told NBC News that it too would enact a ban.

Campaigners had been calling for a halt to shipments of endangered species killed by trophy hunters, even before the killing of Cecil the lion.

Around 400,000 people signed a petition initiated by a Delta customer calling for the airline to stop transporting exotic hunting trophies, according to the organisation.
For example, Lufthansa Cargo, in early June, decided to no longer accept any trophies such as lions, elephants and rhinos from Africa, while such shipments were banned by Emirates SkyCargo in May.

Although most animals are transported by ship, thanks to the bans, hunters would find it difficult to send their trophies home place above the mantelpiece, dealing a blow to Africa's multi-million-dollar game industry.

South African Airways had also placed an embargo on transport of trophies of rhinos, elephants, tigers and lion in April after incidents of false documentation, but reversed its decision two weeks ago, citing the Department of Environmental Affairs agreeing to tighten inspections and crack down on false permits.

Zimbabwe has called for the extradition of American dentist Walter Palmer, accused of killing Cecil in an illegal hunt. The 13-year-old lion wore a GPS collar as part of an Oxford University study.

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