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Airlines Take Action In Death Of Cecil The Lion

August 4, 2015 - Following the death of Cecil the lion several airlines have indicated they have banned the shipment of trophy animals worldwide as freight, on Monday Delta led the charge followed by American Airlines.

On July 1, 2015, Cecil the lion who was a 13-year-old male Southwest African lion was killed after being trapped on the Hwange National Park in Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe by an American trophy hunter Walter Palmer.

Palmer had first wounded Cecil with an arrow from a crossbow. Palmer then tracked down the lion for about 40 hours, at which time he shot the lion with his rifle. Cecil had been a major attraction at the park and was being studied and tracked by the University of Oxford as part of a larger study.

The killing of Cecil drew international media attention and sparked outrage among animal conservationists, politicians and celebrities, as well as a strong negative internet response against Palmer.


Delta Airlines was the first air carrier to respond to this senseless killing of a wild animal. In a statement, Delta issued the following statement, Effective immediately, Delta will officially ban shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight.  Prior to this ban, Delta's strict acceptance policy called for absolute compliance with all government regulations regarding protected species. Delta will also review acceptance policies of other hunting trophies with appropriate government agencies and other organizations supporting legal shipments. 

On Friday four Democratic senators Bob Menendez (N.J.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Ben Cardin (Md.) introduce a bill to further strengthen the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The bill ‘‘Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large (CECIL) Animal Trophies Act’’ would amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to extend the import- and export related provision of that Act to species proposed for listing as threatened or endangered under that Act.



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