Delta Airlines Bans Transport of Hunting Trophies

Delta Airlines
Cecil the Lion- Wikimedia Commons

One of the bigger news stories over the past week has been the killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe by an American dentist.

Cecil was a famous lion due to his black mane and was a star attraction at Hwange National Park where he was illegally lured out to be hunted on private property.

The American, Dr. Walter Palmer from Minnesota paid over $50,000 for the hunt and shot Cecil using a bow and arrow. The lion was then killed by a bullet after being tracked for 40 painful hours. Palmer claims that he did not know the hunt was illegal since he used local guides.

After worldwide outrage over killing the famous lion, Palmer has since gone into hiding and Zimbabwe has asked the U.S.to extradite him to face charges.

Besides the negative media attention and worldwide condemnation, what else could be done to stop the hunt of wildlife?

According to the NY Times, “A group of airlines including Air France, KLM, Iberia, IAG Cargo, Singapore Airlines and Qantas signaled last week they would ban the transport of trophy-hunting kills“.

The article also states that “a ban was initiated by South African Airways in April, and Emirates, Lufthansa and British Airways later joined. These airlines pledged not to carry big game trophies, including elephants, rhinos, lions and tigers as cargo“.

(The article mentions that SAA has since lifted the ban.)

If hunters have no way to get their “trophies” home, I’d assume it would be a big way to help reduce the hunting of these beautiful animals. (However, I’m sure they could come up with other ways like by shipping their prize.)

Well now Delta Airlines has joined in and banned the transport of game trophies on its flights.

Delta is the only American carrier with direct service between the United States and countries in Africa” according to the Times.

The Times quotes a statement from Morgan Durrant of Delta, “Effective immediately, Delta will officially ban shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight”.

I sure do hope that other airlines join and implement a ban. It seems like this would be a great way to make an impact on decreasing the amount of trophy kills in Africa.

It would be nice if these animals could be viewed in their natural habitat and not on the walls of people’s homes.

I’d love to take Lucas to Africa soon to go on a safari. Whenever we’re going away, at time he tells his teachers that we’re going to Africa!

Find out more from the NY Times here.

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3 thoughts on “Delta Airlines Bans Transport of Hunting Trophies

  1. Michael W:
    I find Dr. Palmer’s actions totally unethical and were most probably illegal and criminal. I feel he should be investigated and if found guilty in a U.S. or African court, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Given his fame, Cecil the Lion, was probably not fully “wild” and thus could be approached close enough to be shot (in this case wounded) with an arrow. This is not hunting! Hunters, by both desire and necessity, are conservationists, giving both their time and monetary contributions for the welfare and continued success of wildlife species, both here in the U.S. and around the world. “Hunters” are not the problem facing wildlife, poachers and the Dr. Walter Palmers are. Airline bans will not decrease unethical and illegal trophy kills in Africa, only stiff fines and long jail terms for those committing such crimes will.

  2. Ima Hunter- I think it is awful that he shot the lion but I do wonder if he knew that the tour operator had an illegal license? My guess is that since he’s done similar hunts before, he knew it was illegal to lure an animal out of a park where it is protected.

    If so, Palmer should face some sort of consequences…

    Thank you for sharing the difference between hunting and poachers/ game hunters. I think there is a distinction to be made here.

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