Delta, American, United All Ban Shipment of Big Game Hunting Trophies

Cecil the Lion with Brother Jericho - H 2015
Brent Stapelkamp

Cecil the Lion with Brother Jericho - H 2015

The restriction comes on the heels of national outrage over the hunting death of Zimbabwe's Cecil the lion by Minnesota dentist and trophy hunter Walter Palmer.

Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines implemented new bans on the transportation of big game hunting trophies, the airlines announced this week.

In a statement released on Monday, Delta spokesperson Morgan Durrant said that the "shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight" is now prohibited.

"Prior to this ban, Delta’s strict acceptance policy called for absolute compliance with all government regulations regarding protected species," the statement reads. "Delta will also review acceptance policies of other hunting trophies with appropriate government agencies and other organizations supporting legal shipments."

"Effective immediately, we will no longer transport buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion or rhino trophies," tweeted American Airlines on Monday night. The Associated Press reports United also announced its own restriction, although its records indicate there have not been shipments of these types of trophies in the past.

The bans, effective immediately, come in the wake of public outcry over the killing of Zimbabwe's beloved Cecil the lion by Minnesota dentist and trophy hunter Walter Palmer.

Following Delta's announcement, the Humane Society of the United States released a statement of its own commending the carrier for setting "a great example."

"Lions, elephants and the other species that make up the Africa Big Five 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," president and CEO Wayne Pacelle said. "Delta has set a great example, and no airline should provide a get-away vehicle for the theft of Africa’s wildlife by these killers."

South African Airways, British Airways, Lufthansa, Emirates, Qantas, Qatar, Singapore and Brussels Airlines are among the other carriers that have placed restrictions on the shipment of hunting trophies as cargo.

Updated Aug. 4 9:08 AM PT to reflect American and United also banning big game hunting trophies.