4 May 2015
South African Airways Cargo (SAA Cargo) will no longer transport hunting trophies around the world, the airfreight company has said.
It issued a policy and procedures advisory to its internal stakeholders advising of the embargo on the transportation of hunting trophies on 21 April. The embargo is limited to rhino, elephant, tiger, and lion.
SAA Cargo is the division of South African Airways (SAA) that focuses on airfreight movement worldwide. It uses belly space of SAA’s passenger flights for cargo carriage and also runs a fleet of three dedicated cargo Boeing 737-300Fs.
In the past it had experienced a problem in which some shipments containing hunting trophies were misdeclared and the group was fined in a foreign country. In one particular instance, early in April 2015, a shipment lodged as machinery spare parts was discovered in Australia while in transit to Kuala Lumpur. The shipment contained elephant tusks and was seized.
SAA Cargo was issued with a Notice of Seizure. “We had to act swiftly to curb the problem of illegal transportation of animals,” said Tlali Tlali, SAA’s spokesperson.
SAA Cargo will keep the embargo in place until all other options have been considered and stricter control measures have been put in place to prevent a recurrence. “When such measures are implemented we will advise all stakeholders accordingly in South Africa and at our international stations.”
Africa Geographic, which publishes magazines and blogs about natural history and travel, reports that “the illegal trafficking of wildlife products has become a multi-billion dollar industry and the airways are constantly looking for new ways to combat the illegal trade.
“Recently sniffer dogs have been introduced to many of the international airports in South Africa. SAA have also put their personnel through rigorous training in order for them to be able to identify various different wildlife products.”