Delta and American Airlines ban shipment of hunting trophies after Cecil the Lion outrage

Both airlines say their bans are 'effective immediately'

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The Independent Online

Delta and American Airlines have announced that they will no longer transport lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo hunting 'trophies', following the worldwide controversy over the killing of Cecil the lion.

Until recently, Delta had said it would allow such cargo to be transported on its aircraft, as long as they were the products of legal hunts.

Delta runs more flights to Africa than any other American airline, making it a popular choice for the 15,000 American hunters who visit the continent on hunting safaris each year, according to figures from nonprofit group Conservation Force.

American Airlines operates fewer flights to the continent, but still made their new policy clear in a tweet, which they said was "effective immediately".

In a short statement, Delta also said their ban would be effective immediately, and added that they will "review acceptance policies of other hunting trophies with appropriate government agencies and other organisations", hinting at a possible extension of the ban to other types of animal.

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Jericho the lion, left, fighting with his brother, Cecil, in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, last year

 

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Walt Palmer, left, who killed Cecil the Zimbabwean lion

The move by these two major airlines comes shortly after similar announcements from a number of other airlines, including KLM, Air France and Qantas, who banned certain hunting trophies from being carried on their flights following the condemnation of Cecil the lion's killer, American dentist Walter Palmer.

 

Cecil was a well-known lion, who was a favourite amongst locals and tourists in Zimbabwe, and also a subject of a study by an Oxford University-based conservation group.

After the killing, Palmer was hounded by critics from all over the world, and has since gone into hiding.

Neither Delta nor American Airlines have given a reason for their bans, but it is safe to assume that they were responding to pressure from critics following Cecil's death.

Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry consultant, said: "I don't think there was much of this shipment taking place, so there is minimal revenue loss and big PR gain for them."

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