Until today, Delta Air Lines permitted the transport of animal parts — lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceri and buffalo — on inbound flights to the U.S. from Africa.
How’s that for an unwanted passenger?
Maybe Delta didn’t have to change its policy, and maybe the impact will be minimal. After all, we haven’t personally sat next to any poachers or entrails on an airplane.
That said, Delta erected a big roadblock Monday for any American hunters hoping to bring home animal trophies.
The news follows the recent global outcry over the death of Zimbabwe’s Cecil the Lion at the hands of American dentist Walter Palmer. The allegedly illegal hunt of the 13-year-old lion sparked petitions garnering more than 1 million signatures, calling for justice for Cecil and stricter protections of Africa’s endangered lions.
“Prior to this ban, Delta’s strict acceptance policy called for absolute compliance with all government regulations regarding protected species,” the airline stated through a press release by the activist website TakePart.com. “Delta will also review acceptance policies of other hunting trophies with appropriate government agencies and other organizations supporting legal shipments.”
Delta’s joins British Airways, Lufthansa, Emirates, Qantas, Qatar, Etihad, Iberia, Singapore, and Brussels Airlines in banning the transport of big game hunting trophies. Americans constitute 60 percent of oversees big game hunters who travel to Africa each year.