First-Class Move By Airlines to Protect African Wildlife

By on August 7, 2015 with 10 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

Breaking News: More airlines are coming on board in the wake of the savage and senseless killing of Cecil the lion, with JetBlue and CargoJet pledging within the last 24 hours to ban shipments of trophies of the Africa Big Five. They join Air Canada, Air France, American Airlines, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Comair, Delta Airlines, Emirates Airlines, Ethiopian Airways, Etihad, IAG Cargo, Iberia Airlines, KLM, Lufthansa, Qantas, Qatar Airways Singapore Airlines, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, and WestJet in shunning the transport of some or all hunting trophies. This is rapid and extraordinary movement in the corporate sector, and a recognition by these carriers that their passengers, almost to a person, want to see and protect wild animals, rather than to shoot them. These wildlife watchers, now keenly aware of the havoc and cruelty created by trophy hunters, recognize that globe-trotting sportsmen are robbing African nations of some of their most majestic and imperiled creatures.

These corporate announcements come as the world condemns the broader crisis of trophy hunting in Africa – celebrities from Kesha, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Ricky Gervais, and even Norman Reedus (who so lethally wielded his crossbow in The Walking Dead) to politician-celebrity types including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Newt Gingrich have condemned the bloodthirsty killing of Cecil. Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson today posted a powerful piece rebutting the trophy hunters’ fallacy that they need to kill animals to save them, writing that “[t]hose defending these unsustainable hunting practices should take a long-term view. We know that elephants and rhinos (and surely lions, too) – if left alive – have a lifetime economic value that can go into the millions.”

USA Today tells trophy hunters to “consider trading your weapons for cameras. That way, you can bring home photos instead of heads, along with the satisfaction of sparing the lives of beautiful creatures.”  The New York Times said the incident should prompt some soul-searching among hunters who pursue African game,” while  The Chicago Tribune noted that “the airlines’ stand will give hunters pause about killing big-game animals that are in dwindling populations.”

But The Washington Post correctly noted that “more than a temporary stop in hunting in one African country will be needed if threatened and endangered species are to be saved.”

The work is far from done. We very much need the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to place the lion on the list of protected species under the Endangered Species Act, for the Congress to act and pass the CECIL Act, and for outlier airlines and carriers to get on board with the campaign. Please tell these companies – chief among them, UPS and South African Airways – that there’s no place in the 21st century for airlines carrying the carcasses of Africa’s most precious natural treasures.

Years down the road, does any person really think the airlines will be doing much of any business shuttling people for global head-hunting excursions?  The people who’ll be flying to Africa, with just a few exceptions, want to see the animals in the wild and leave them in the wild in one piece. They’re more than satisfied – in fact, elated — to leave the continent with a series of mental and digital image of the animals.  They won’t be agents of terror, destroying families, depleting the creatures who manage to survive, and absconding with the few parts of disassembled animals they killed in their expensive act of larceny.

Take action today to tell the rest of the airline industry: Don’t fly wild »

Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

Subscribe to the Blog

Enter your email address below to receive updates each time we publish new content.


Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. mary goodsell says:

    Wayne – Excellent, excellent and you can be rest assured the Animal Kingdom and the others are looking at you proudly from the heavens!! The day the news broke regarding Cecil, a very, very small group of us here in Minnesota had it all planned to go into his office and visit with him and let him know that he should not be doing these horrific, barbaric trophy hunts – little did I know how much of an impactthat this would have on the entire planet – it blew me away – driving over there after work on that fateful day, protests were already in full swing for Cecil the Lion, the entire news media had already arrived in Palmer’s office parking lot – it was so surreal and all within just a short couple hours. We’ll keep going of course for the animals and thanks again for your great informative blogs, keep them coming and hard work. Millions of us will support HSUS and ALL the other great organizations for the animals ALWAYS. To Cecil the Lion you forever reside in our hearts!!

    Mary Goodsell
    Minneapolis, Minnesota

  2. patricia crawley says:

    you know what I really cannot phathom why anyone in their right mine you kill such a magnificant animal, it is beyond comprehension. There is definitiely something seriously wrong with these people who do this “trophy hunting” thing, myself I think any one of them should be killed as it is inexcusable

  3. patricia crawley says:

    he is so beautiful

  4. Nellie Faull says:

    It is my prayer that Cecil’s death will not be forgotten, but lead to a complete ban on trophy hunting. The damage that is done by killing a pride male is devasting all existing cubs in the pride will be killed by a new leader, that is how it works in lion society .Cecil’s beautiful cubs probably won’t make it.

  5. Carmen Diax says:

    Against animal cruelty

  6. Carmen Diax says:

    Stop this cruelty

  7. Laurence Soucy says:

    More than ever we need to spread and honor Cecil’s important message!

    “As unfair, humiliating, and outrageous an act it was to kill me, the time is now for me to stand in my place as ruler/king and speak on behalf of the animals here and other places, who suffer daily in silence by mindless and cruel acts done by humans who have lost their connection with their fellow Earth beings – and with their own heart.”

    Read Cecil’s spoken words:

  8. Barry Reutzel says:

    I have a petition at

    on this very subject. I ask each of you to take a few seconds to sign it and forward it to your friends and put it on Facebook. UPS is a major cargo carrier and we need to stop their traffic of African wildlife. Thank you for your time.

Share a Comment

The HSUS encourages open discussion, and we invite you to share your opinion on our issues. By participating on this page, you are agreeing to our commenting policy.
Please enter your name and email address below before commenting. Your email address will not be published.