by Alicia Graef May 19, 2015
Emirates Airlines, the world’s largest international airline, just announced that hunting trophies will no longer be allowed and that the change would be effective immediately.
In a statement, the airline said the ban will be applied to all trophies, whether or not they’re from species protected by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and it will include trophies from species that aren’t currently threatened with extinction.
It further said, “This decision is to support international governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, that are managing wildlife population towards sustaining the task to eliminate illegal trade and transportation of hunting trophies worldwide and saving wildlife heritage.”
The announcement comes just weeks after South American Airlines (SAA) announced it would no longer transport trophies from rhinos, elephants, lions and tigers in an effort to protect wildlife being targeted by sport hunters and the illegal wildlife trade.
Tim Clyde-Smith, a representative for SAA, told the media that at the time that, “The vast majority of tourists visit Africa in particular to witness the wonderful wildlife that remains. 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.”
Now it won’t matter whether or not hunters have the required permits, since they’re not getting their trophies on flights from either of these airlines. Not only does this send a message that sport hunting isn’t supporting conservation, but it will make it harder for anyone trying to move illegal items by claiming they’re from legal hunts.
Conservationists are cheering the latest change in policy from Emirates Airlines and hope other companies will follow the ethical lead these two airlines have set.
“This is a bold move by the world’s biggest international carrier,” said Dr. Elsayed Mohamed, Middle East Regional Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. “Emirates have taken an important and responsible step in showing they are serious about wildlife conservation. We value their decision and look forward to other national airlines in the Gulf region to follow their lead.”
Delta Airlines, which TakePart previously reported is the only carrier based in the U.S. with direct flights to South Africa, is also being pushed to make a similar change in policy, but so far the airline hasn’t budged.