Last year, more than a thousand rhinos were poached in South Africa, elephant populations have plummeted 66% in just five years, and the export of lion "trophies" has increased ten-fold-- hunters bringing home animals' heads and bodies to stuff and mount. In response to such threats, South African Airways has declared an immediate, worldwide ban on transporting any hunting trophies made from rhinos, lions, elephants, and tigers. Now I need your support to ask Delta Air Lines to match this policy and refuse to transport exotic animal hunting trophies!
South African Airways made it clear this ban applies to all such hunting trophies, without exception, "even if the shipper has a valid permit issued by the relevant authorities." "With the depletion to near extinction of wildlife that once roamed in prolific numbers," there is no justifying the slaughter of such incredible animals for sport and vanity.
But for South African Airways' embargo to have the most effective result in saving animals' lives, it is imperative that the hunting trophy transport ban is honored across all air carriers.
As one of the world's largest airlines, and the only U.S. carrier with direct service to South Africa, Delta Air Lines is in a key position to help protect these and other vulnerable wild animal populations from further hunting and poaching pressures.
By refusing to play a role in the wildlife trafficking supply chain, Delta Air Lines can demonstrate the strong and ethical leadership that has made it such a successful and respected company. More importantly, Delta will be helping preserve a valuable natural resource that provides one of the primary reasons customers choose to fly Delta to visit Africa and other wilderness destinations. As a loyal, "Diamond Medallion" Delta customer who has logged over 650,000 miles with the company, I can attest that Ecotourism now accounts for a full 12 percent of GDP in some African countries.
As the Chair of the American Bar Association's Animal Law Committee, I also am acutely aware how over-hunting has devastated threatened and endangered species. It is a tragic circumstance driven almost exclusively by the $20 billion illicit trade in imperiled animal body parts.
So join me in asking CEO Richard Anderson to show the world that Delta cares by doing its part and refusing to transport exotic animal hunting trophies.