Three Major Airlines Ban Shipment of Hunting Trophies

posted: 08/04/15
by: Danny Clemens
Male lion looks over his shoulder with mouth open as if to vocalize
Jeff Foott/DCL

Major air carriers Delta, United and American Airlines announced on Monday that they will no longer accept freight shipments of lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros or buffalo hunting trophies.

All carriers will, however, still accept trophy shipments of other game animals. In a brief statement, Delta pledged to "review acceptance policies of other hunting trophies with appropriate government agencies."

Delta's announcement represents a major victory for conservationists: it is the only American carrier to provide direct service between South Africa (a major hub of the trophy hunting industry) and the United States. A change.org petition asking the airline to ban trophy shipments garnered nearly 400,000 signatures before Monday's announcement.

The airline trio, which comprises three of North America's four largest by passenger load, joins British Airways, Air France, KLM, Singapore Airways, Lufthansa, Air Emirates, Iberia Airlines, IAG Cargo and Qantas in refusing trophies, according to SumofUs.

The announcements come on the heels of the recent illegal killing of at least three lions in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park. Zimbabwean authorities have made arrests in two of the cases and are actively pursuing extradition for the American hunter involved in the early July shooting of Cecil the lion. Officials have since announced a near-complete moratorium on lion, leopard and elephant hunting within the park.

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