Delta, American Airlines, United ban shipment of some animal trophies

4 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Delta and American airlines ban big-game trophy shipments.

NEW YORK (AP) – Delta Air Lines had a major change of heart about shipping hunting trophies, announcing Monday afternoon that it would no longer accept lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies. Competitor American American Airlines also announced a similar move Monday on its official Twitter account but Spokesman Ross Feinstein said it’s largely symbolic because American Airlines does not serve Africa. The announcements from the three major U.S. carriers were made amid mounting international outrage over the hunting death of one of Africa’s most iconic lions, Cecil, who was killed in Zimbabwe by an American big-game hunter.

The moves come after an American dentist killed a well-known lion named Cecil in Zimbabwe last month in an allegedly illegal hunt, setting off a worldwide uproar. Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist, has said he had “no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite.” “I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt,” he said last week in a statement obtained by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “Lions, elephants and the other species that make up the Africa Big Five belong on the savanna, not on the walls and in home museums of wealthy people who spend a fortune to kill the grandest, most majestic animals in the world,” Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement. “Delta has set a great example, and no airline should provide a getaway vehicle for the theft of Africa’s wildlife by these killers.” “Big five” trophy shipments are still allowed by UPS. A spokeswoman for the global shipping giant told The Post on Tuesday that UPS follows U.S. and international laws, not public opinion, in determining what it will and won’t ship. “There are many items shipped in international commerce that may spark controversy,” UPS public relations director Susan Rosenberg wrote in an email. “The views on what is appropriate for shipment are as varied as the audiences that hold these views. “UPS takes many factors under consideration in establishing its shipping policies, including the legality of the contents and additional procedures required to ensure compliance.

All shipments must comply with all laws, including any relevant documentation from the shipper required in the origin and destination location of the shipments.” As The Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham reported, wealthy American tourists account for the majority of lions killed for sport in Africa. Delta would not answer questions from The Associated Press about why the decision was made now and how many hunting trophies it has shipped in recent years.

The company only issued a 58-word statement noting that prior to Monday’s ban, “Delta’s strict acceptance policy called for absolute compliance with all government regulations regarding protected species.” Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry consultant, noted that the airline was probably responding to pressure following the news of Cecil’s killing. And that number is rising: “Of these trophies, the number imported into the U.S. in 2008 was larger than any other year in the decade studied and more than twice the number in 1999,” the report found. “In Africa overall,” the report says, Americans “make up the greatest number” of big-game hunters targeting the big five, as well as animals such as antelopes and zebras — “particularly in countries where hunting safaris are expensive.” The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, a nongovernmental organization, believes that Cecil was lured off the Hwange National Park — land on which he was protected. On Sunday, Zimbabwe’s National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority accused a second American doctor, Jan Seski, of illegally killing a lion in April.

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