Top US Air Carriers Ban Hunting 'Trophies' From Planes

The move comes after an uproar over the killing of Cecil, a lion in Zimbabwe.

August 4, 2015, 12:19 PM

— -- All three of the major U.S. airlines have now banned the transport of hunting trophies from Africa in the wake of the outrage over the shooting death of a lion in Zimbabwe by a Minnesota dentist.

American Airlines was the latest to ban the practice, announcing this morning that while it does not serve the continent, the carrier will "no longer transport buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion or rhinoceros trophies."

Delta Air Lines, which The Associated Press reported has the most flights to Africa of all U.S. carriers, said Monday it would put an immediate worldwide ban in place, but noted that up until now, its policies had followed government regulations.

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

United Airlines said that, according to records, it has not shipped any such trophies in the past.

Some international carriers have held policies against transporting “trophies” since before the debate over the recent lion death.

Virgin Atlantic banned such transport "as part of our ethical cargo policy adopted a number of years ago" and it goes so far as to include endangered species and shark fins "and any animals for research purposes," spokeswoman Harriet Bevis said.

There are at least half a dozen airlines that have international flights to and from Africa that have not clarified their hunting trophy policy.

British Airways, Air France, Air Canada, Jet Blue, Swiss Air and KLM have not responded to ABC News' request for comment.

ABC News' Katherine Faulders contributed to this report.

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