Lufthansa latest airline to stop shipping African hunting trophies

Delta Air Lines urged to follow suit

Germany’s Lufthansa Airlines has become the third major airline to ban the shipment of hunting trophies on its flights.

Word of the ban reportedly came in a memo issued by the Africa director of Lufthansa Cargo and was confirmed by an airline representative on the carrier’s Facebook page June 4.

Lufthansa passenger jet at SeaTac airport
“The shipment of so-called hunting trophies of endangered species has already been strictly prohibited at Lufthansa Cargo for many years,” a representative named Jens wrote. “In addition, Lufthansa Cargo has decided not to accept any trophies of the African fauna, e.g. lions, elephants and rhinos including legally hunted or legally acquired trophies, for carriage from Africa. With this policy, Lufthansa Cargo is making a further contribution to species and wildlife protection.”

In April, South African Airways (SAA) became the first airline to announce that it would no longer support game hunters by carrying their trophies back to their country of origin. In announcing its decision, the carrier cited concerns about the long-term survival of the continent’s wildlife.

“The vast majority of tourists visit Africa in particular to witness the wonderful wildlife that remains,” Tim Clyde-Smith, the airline’s country manager, said. “We consider it our duty to work to ensure this is preserved for future generations and that we deter activity that puts this wonderful resource in danger.”

Shortly after SAA’s action, Emirates SkyCargo announced it had also banned hunting trophies of elephants, rhinos, tigers and lions from its aircraft. The U.A.E.-based carrier already had a ban on shipments of products and parts of endangered animals and plants listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITIES), but the new policy bans trophy cargo regardless of whether the animals are protected by CITIES.

Concerned individuals and organizations are urging other airlines that serve Africa to follow suit, with major U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) the target of one such effort. A group called Care2 has gathered some 95,000 signatures in support of a simple one-sentence petition asking the airline to join SAA, Emirates and Lufthansa “to preserve wildlife by banning shipments of wild and endangered animal hunting trophies.”

“While trophy hunting is legal in some parts of Africa, flying home with hunting souvenirs will become increasingly difficult if Delta joins other airlines to protect wildlife,” the group said, noting that, “Prohibitions on the shipment of hunting trophies will also make it more difficult for tour companies to offer deals on these hunts.”

For its part, Delta representatives steered clear of addressing the petition or speculating about future changes.

"Delta accepts hunting trophies in accordance with all U.S. domestic and international regulations, which prohibits the possession of trophies or other items associated with protected species," a Delta spokesperson said in response to an inquiry from TheTravelPro. "Customers are required to produce detailed documentation of trophies to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials as their trophies undergo inspection."

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Photo by Carl Dombek
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