Without giving a reason, South African Airways lifted a ban it just put in place in April on transporting hunting trophies of endangered species, such as elephants, rhinos, lions and tigers. Bloomberg reported that the airline discussed the issue with government officials and industry groups before making the decision to reverse the policy.
According to Fast Feed, the nonprofit Professional Hunter’s Association of South Africa (PHASA) said the country’s Department of Environmental Affairs intervened in the discussions to influence the policy change. The group claims that hunting and the trophy-hunting industry play a significant role in South African conservation.
Emirates previously issued and all-out ban on carrying hunting trophies, regardless of whether the animal was considered endangered; Delta Air Lines was being lobbied to follow suit with a similar ban. The goal of the bans was to make hunting endangered species less appealing since the hunter couldn’t bring his/her trophy home to display.
Illegal wildlife trade is the fourth-largest global illegal trade after drugs, counterfeit products and currency and human trafficking, according to the World Wildlife Fund. It brings in approximately US$19 billion a year.