3 US airlines ban shipment of 'big five' hunting trophies

An American NGO has succeeded in its plea for some major airlines to change their cargo policies.

FILE: A Delta Airlines jet prepares to land at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Three American airlines have joined a growing list of carriers who are banning some animal trophies from their cargo holds, following the controversy sparked by the illegal killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe.

Delta, American and United Airlines announced yesterday that they would no longer transport trophies of any of the so-called 'big five' animals.

Cecil the lion was shot dead in Zimbabwe by American dentist Walter Palmer, who has since gone into hiding and faces the threat of extradition.

The New York Times is reporting that an American NGO has succeeded in its plea for some major airlines to change their cargo policies.

The organisation, Sum of Us, says about a dozen carriers, including Emirates Airlines, have effectively banned the shipment of all lion, elephant, rhino, and leopard and buffalo trophies.

There has been growing pressure on airlines to regulate their cargo after the hunt that led to Cecil the lion being shot dead.

The NGO says it believes airlines have a crucial role to play in the fight against illegal trophy hunting.