World's biggest international carrier refuses to transport trophies of elephant, rhinoceros, tiger & lion

Aviation giant Emirates has announced plans to stop carrying hunting trophies of elephant, rhino, tiger and lion on its flights.

The ban, which comes into effect today, follows a similar move by South African Airways in April, which has vetoed the same on its flights.

In a statement, Emirates said the decision is part of an effort “to eliminate illegal trade and transportation of hunting trophies worldwide and save wildlife heritage.”

The airline revealed the policy earlier this week following an inquiry from Sarah Dyer, a representative of Campaign against Canned Hunting (CACH).

In their reply, the airline said: “Our policy on hunting trophies is that in addition to the existing embargo on CITES-1 specimens (most critically endangered), we will not accept any kind of hunting trophies of elephant, rhinoceros, lion and tiger for carriage on Emirates services, irrespective of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) appendix.”

What this effectively means is that the airline has ignored the current convention, which allows for the sale of some endangered species, and taken a stricter moral stance.

Executive director of CACH Chris Mercer has said he is “impressed beyond all expectations” at the policy. He added: “Placing the embargo took courage, but emphasising it is irrespective of CITES appendix, that shows real conviction.”

Canned hunting has always been controversial, but in recent months it has become a particularly hot topic. The South African Airways ban on transporting hunting trophies came after a shipment of illegal ivory was discovered on one of its flights while in transit in Australia – which incidentally banned the importation of hunting trophies in March.

In April, a picture of extreme hunter Rebecca Francis lying grinning next to a dead giraffe went viral after Ricky Gervais  tweeted it, asking: “What must’ve happened to you in your life to make you want to kill a beautiful animal & then lie next to it smiling?”

There is now pressure on US airline Delta, which flies directly to South Africa, to introduce a similar ban. So far, more than 100,000 people have signed an online petition.