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Three U.S. airlines have announced they will no longer allow hunters to bring their big-game trophies on flights amid the recent uproar over an American who killed a well-known lion in Zimbabwe.
American joined Delta and United Airlines Monday in refusing to permit certain animal trophies aboard. Effective immediately, American said it “will no longer transport buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion or rhino trophies,” in a tweet
Effective immediately, we will no longer transport buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion or rhino trophies.
Delta and United announced they were banning the same animal trophies earlier Monday. Delta, which has the most flights of any U.S. carrier to Africa, also said it was going to “review acceptance policies of other hunting trophies” in consultation with government agencies and organizations “supporting legal shipments.”
A United spokesman told Bloomberg the airline was making the policy change because, “it made sense to do so.”
Delta had said as recently as May that it would continue to allow such shipments, as long as they were legal, after several airlines followed South African Airways’ example in banning them back in April.
The new policy comes amid a swelling public outcry over the illegal killing of Cecil the lion, a beloved icon in Zimbabwe, at the hands of a Minnesota dentist.
The dentist, Walter Palmer, allegedly paid about $50,000 to hunt Cecil and killed the lion with a crossbow after it was lured from a national park into an unprotected area.
Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry consultant, noted that Delta was probably responding to pressure following the news of Cecil’s killing. The airline was the subject of a petition on change.org to ban such shipments.
“I don’t think there was much of this shipment taking place, so there is minimal revenue loss and big PR gain for them,” he said.
Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society, told NBC News that Delta “has set a great example.”
“No airline should provide a get-away vehicle for the theft of Africa’s wildlife by these killers,” he added.
Since the controversy erupted over Cecil’s death, Air France, KLM, Iberia, IAG Cargo, Singapore Airlines and Qantas have joined South African Airways, Emirates, Lufthansa and British Airways in banning shipments of big-game trophies.
Contributing: Kevin Farrell, USA TODAY; The Associated Press. source-usatoday