Three major U.S. airlines announced on Monday they have banned the transport of big game trophies amid the mounting backlash over the killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe.
In recent days, airlines have found themselves under increasing pressure to ban this kind of cargo on their flights, and thus make it more difficult for hunters to move their prize.
And, after American dentist Walter Palmer admitting to killing one of Africa’s most famous lions, Delta, American, and United have all confirmed they have banned the transport of big game trophy mounts.
The airlines specifically banned what is referred to as the “African Big Five” so coveted by wealthy big game hunters — African elephant, rhinoceros, lion, leopard, and cape buffalo trophies.
Effective immediately, we will no longer transport buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion or rhino trophies.
— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) August 4, 2015
Opponents to trophy hunting have applauded the bans. In a statement, Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said no airline should provide “a get-away vehicle for the theft of Africa’s wildlife”.
Lions, elephants and the other species that make up the Africa Big Five belong on the savannah, 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.