Delta bans shipment of some exotic animal trophies

Posted at 3:28 PM, Aug 03, 2015

ATLANTA — Delta has banned the shipment of some “animal trophies,” the airline company said in a statement on Monday.

“Effective immediately, Delta will officially ban shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight,” Delta said in the statement.

Animal trophies have come under scrutiny over the past month following the killing of Cecil the lion, a 13-year-old male Southwest African lion who was illegally killed in Zimbabwe on July 1.

The Delta statement continues:

“Prior to this ban, Delta’s strict acceptance policy called for absolute compliance with all government regulations regarding protected species. Delta will also review acceptance policies of other hunting trophies with appropriate government agencies and other organizations supporting legal shipments.”

Delta, the only U.S. carrier that serves South Africa directly, had been accepting hunting trophies if customers provided appropriate documentation to U.S. customs officials and if the animal in question was not a protected species. The move comes amid an outcry over the killing of the well-known lion Cecil by American hunter Walter Palmer, after the lion was lured out of a Zimbabwe wildlife reserve.

According to Fox News, a petition launched by Chris Green, a Delta Diamond Medallion flier, received over 390,000 signatures and called for the airline to institute a ban.

Lufthansa and Emirates Airline already have similar policies in place and after news of Cecil’s death, South African Airways also announced a policy refusing to transport exotic animal hunting trophies, Fox News reported.

The Animal Humane Society is calling for all major airlines to adopt policies that prohibit the shipping of big-game trophies.