At the same time when Qatar Airways last week joined the top three U.S. airlines, United, American and Delta, by announcing a total embargo on transporting hunting trophies as listed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora, the two U.S. integrators, FedEx and United Parcel Service made it clear that they would continue to ship hunting trophies.
Spokespersons for the two express companies referred to existing rules of the government’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that specifies which animals can be hunted and brought back to the U.S.
Currently, the Service permits the importation of the "big five" hunting trophies: lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo.
UPS public relations director Susan Rosenberg was quoted as saying by the Washington Post that the company follows U.S. and international laws - and not public opinion - in determining what it will and won’t ship.
"There are many items shipped in international commerce that may spark controversy," said Rosenberg. "The views on what is appropriate for shipment are as varied as the audiences that hold these views."
The spokesperson for FedEx, Jim McCluskey, said that FedEx’s shipping policy allows "taxidermy finished specimens if they are legally obtained and meet our shipping guidelines." He added, "Our priority is to ensure we abide by laws and regulations for all shipments."
The issue of transporting hunting trophies comes in the aftermath of the illegal killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, by American dentist Walter Palmer of Minnesota, who is believed to have paid about $50,000 to hunt Cecil. Zimbabwe is seeking his extradition and that of a doctor from Pennsylvania, named as Jan Casimir Seski, who is suspected of killing a lion in April.
A growing number of carriers ban hunting trophies from transportation
Since the incident, Air France, KLM, Iberia, IAG Cargo, Singapore Airlines and Qantas announced they would join Emirates, Lufthansa, British Airways and the three U.S. airlines in banning African animal trophies onboard.
At the time of publication, the following airlines are still allowing trophy hunting transportation: Air Algérie, Air Berlin, Air China, Alaska Airlines, Alitalia, Egyptair, FedEx, Japan Airlines, Kenya Airways, Korean Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, South African Airways, South African Express Airways, Turkish Airlines, UPS and Vietnam Airlines.
Swiss Airlines’ Head of Cargo Marketing, Alain Guerin states that Swiss is complying with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) when it comes to the transportation of animals, thus banning animal trophies as per CITES Appendix I. Alain adds to this that since 1 June this year “we have extended the ban to the transportation of lion trophies as well as lion bones and body parts (CITES Appendix II).”
Asked about DHL’s practices Claus Korfmacher, Head of the Corp. Communications Team confirmed to CargoForwarder Global that DHL Express unlike its competitors FedEx and UPS does not accept any hunting trophies for carriage on board the integrator’s fleet.
Nol van Fenema