South African Airways and Emirates SkyCargo led the way by banning the transport of animal pelts or products made from endangered animals such as lions, elephants, rhinos and tigers. Now, Lufthansa has joined in and activists are calling for Delta Air Lines to do the same. More than 85,000 people have signed on to a new “Care2” petition urging Delta to follow suit.
The goal is to make hunting endangered species less appealing since the hunter would not be able to ship and display his/her trophy. Prohibition on the shipments will also make it more difficult for tour companies to market the hunts.
Before the all-out ban, Emirates had already banned shipments of products and parts of endangered animals and plants listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), but this new policy bans all such cargo, whether or not the animal is protected by CITES.
The illegal wildlife trade is very lucrative, bringing in approximately US$19 billion a year. It is the fourth-largest global illegal trade after drugs, counterfeit products and currency, and human trafficking, according to the World Wildlife Fund.