United and American join Delta in banning big game trophies from their flights

No trophies on board.
No trophies on board.
Image: AP Photo/ Nick Ut
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In a win for outraged animal advocates, the three biggest US airlines have all banned the shipment of lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and buffalo trophies—the “big five” of African game hunting.

The move comes as a response to the killing of Zimbabwe’s beloved lion, Cecil, by an American dentist last week. Had Cecil’s body not been seized by Zimbabwean authorities, one of the airlines would have likely been tasked with shipping his head and skin back to the United States.

A handful of other airlines—including British Airways, Lufthansa, Emirates, Qantas, Qatar, Etihad, Iberia, Singapore and Brussels Airlines—had already banned shipments of most exotic animal hunting trophies.

Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the US Humane Society, praised Delta for setting a good example. These animals “belong on the savanna, not on the walls and in home museums of wealthy people who spend a fortune to kill the grandest, most majestic animals in the world,” he said in a statement.

This is an updated version of post that ran yesterday on Quartz.