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42 airlines affirm bans on wildlife trophy shipments

The Humane Society of the United States reports that 42 airlines have announced or reaffirmed bans on wildlife trophy shipments on their carriers since the killing of Cecil the lion earlier this summer.

Cecil, one of Africa's most famous lions and a protected animal, was killed in early July after being lured from Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe to be hunted. Minnesota dentist and trophy hunter Walter James Palmer killed the lion.

American Airlines, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, Jet Blue, United and Virgin have banned shipments of lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and Cape buffalo trophies, according to the nonprofit advocacy group.

The Humane Society noted that shipping giants UPS and FedEx and South African Airways have yet to take such action.

In a statement on Aug. 26, Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, called "upon them to get in line with emerging industry standards for animal welfare and conservation and to stop shipping trophies from these rare animals gunned down in their native habitats.”

Pacelle added, “UPS and other shipping carriers and airlines have the opportunity to help us fight this enterprise of globe-trotting trophy hunting of the rarest, most remarkable animals in the world. We urge these entities to follow in the footsteps of Virgin, Delta, United and other airlines and freight carriers.”

Since the killing of the Cecil, which drew global attention to the issue of wildlife trophy hunts, several members of Congress have introduced bills to restrict wildlife trophy imports.

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, introduced a bill to ban imports of trophies and parts from African lions and other at-risk species.

U.S. Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee and Eddie Bernice Johnson, both Democrats from Texas, plan to sponsor a bill to amend the Endangered Species Act to ban “all acts of senseless and perilous trophy killings.”

Meanwhile, lawmakers in New York and New Jersey have introduced bills to restrict intrastate sales and transportation of animal trophies.

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