Airlines ban wildlife hunting trophies on board

Elephants

An airline has started to ban passengers from travelling with animal hunting trophies, including elephant tusks and skins from tigers or lions.

Emirates SkyCargo is the latest carrier to make the move in an attempt to preserve wildlife.

While activists welcome the ban, some experts say the legal hunting of African animals has little effect on endangered species.

From 15 May Emirates says it "will not accept any animal hunting trophies".

Rebecca Francis
Image caption Rebecca Francis is a trophy hunter aiming to legally kill the Big Five (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino)

The first airline to ban hunters was South African Airlines last week (8 May).

Meanwhile, thousands of online activists are demanding Delta Airlines bans animal trophies from their cargo.

So far, more than 40,000 people have signed a petition for the US airline, with direct flights to South Africa, and CEO Richard Anderson to stop transporting endangered animals on their planes.

While activists claim wildlife conservation as their goal, some experts believe the legal hunting and transport of African animals, which is strictly regulated, has minimal impact on endangered species.

Those defending hunting claim it is the illegal poachers, who kill animals to sell on the black market that pose the real threat to African animals' long-term survival.

Last month, a picture of extreme hunter Rebecca Francis smiling as she lay next to a dead giraffe was shared thousands of times after Ricky Gervais tweeted it.

The comedian tweeted: "What must've happened to you in your life to make you want to kill a beautiful animal & then lie next to it smiling?"

Rebecca, who won the reality TV show Extreme Huntress in 2010, hit back at the time, saying she has no regrets about killing the giraffe.

"I was approached toward the end of my hunt with a unique circumstance. A beautiful old bull giraffe wandering all alone.

Rhinos
Image caption South African airlines were the first to ban 'hunting trophies' from its planes

"He had been kicked out of the herd and was past his breeding years and close to death.

"They asked me if I would preserve this giraffe by providing all the locals with food."

Trophy hunter Rebecca says her aim is to hunt and collect the 'Big Five' - lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino.

It is legal in parts of Africa to hunt those animals, with touring companies offering deals to do so.

But flying home with hunting souvenirs will become increasingly difficult.

Emirates SkyCargo said of its latest ban in a statement: "This restriction shall be applicable to all animal hunting trophies, protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as well as includes species, that are not threatened with extinction now."

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