United States

3 Airlines Ban Shipments of Hunting ‘Trophies’

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Three major airlines announced a ban on "big-game" shipments like lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo.

Delta, United and American Airlines will no longer carry hunting trophies, like antlers, which hunters bring home from the animals they kill as a way of commemorating the hunt. Several foreign airlines announced similar bans last week, when a beloved Zimbabwean lion was shot.

Delta Airlines said that the worldwide ban was effective immediately — a major shift from just a few months ago, when Delta said it would authorize trophy shipments as long as they were lawful. At the time, some international carriers prohibited such cargo.

A spokesman for United told NBC News on Monday that while the airline hasn't had many big game shipments, it was also prohibiting them.

And American Airlines sent a tweet Monday night that it was taking the same action.

"Before we had strict acceptance policy (which) called for compliance with all government regulations regarding protected species. We have strengthened our policy," an American Airlines spokeswoman said in an email.

The news comes after an American dentist killed a well-known lion named Cecil in Zimbabwe last month in an allegedly illegal hunt. The dentist, Walter James Palmer, lives in Minnesota, which is a major hub for Delta.

Delta is the only U.S. airline to fly to Africa. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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