South African Airways will not allow transport of hunting trophies

South African Airways has made a bold decision to embargo rhino, elephant, lion and tiger hunting trophies.South African Airways (SAA) joined the fight in combating illegal trafficking of wildlife with a bold, principled decision: to place an immediate embargo without exception on the transportation of rhino, elephant, lion and tiger hunting trophies.

Reports indicate the embargo was apparently issued after SAA Cargo was fined by the Civil Aviation Authority for an incident in which hunting trophies were allegedly shipped to Australia under a false label of “mechanical equipment.”

The illegal trafficking of wildlife products has become a multi-billion dollar industry.

As those involved seek to exploit the system, airlines are constantly looking for new ways foil them.

The imposing of such an embargo will go a long way in preventing this trade. No longer will the airlines have to bring in authorities to determine their legality.

If a passenger is found with rhino, elephant, lion and tiger trophies, the airline’s own regulations will have been violated and action can be taken immediately.

This audacious move by SAA and its decision makers needs to be commended. SAA is a major stakeholder in Africa’s tourism industry and has taken a positive, proactive and strategic decision to help conserve our rich and diverse natural heritage.

The proverbial gauntlet has been thrown down - now it will be interesting to see which other international airlines will clamp down on illegal wildlife trade.

Or will pressure from the hunting industry be too much to bear?

--NG

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